Splash (1984) / Comedy-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: PG for brief nudity and language
Running Time: 111 min.
Cast: Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene
Small role: Clint Howard
Director: Ron Howard
Screenplay: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman
Review published March 9, 1997
Allen Bauer (Hanks, Dragnet) is a fruit wholesaler who is unlucky in love, fresh from being dumped by his girlfriend to to a lack of attention and inability to commit. He decides he wants to get away from it all and return to the place where he felt free, which is also the place where he almost drowned as a young boy only to be saved by an equally young mermaid. Upon trying to get to the island, he falls overboard once again (he can't swim) only to be saved by the same mermaid (Hannah, Blade Runner). Later, she finds his wallet and takes a trip to New York to try to find him, and when they are together they fall in love. Problems ensue when she still hasn't told Allen she is a mermaid, she must return to the sea within a few days or die, and a pesky scientist (Levy, Club Paradise) out to make a name for himself by exposing to the world who she really is.
A charming but not very intelligent romantic comedy that delivers on entertainment if you can suspend your disbelief, not in the fact that there is a mermaid in the story, but in the contrived situations and one-dimensional characters. The two stars and their performances are the only things that make the film ultimately work, but a stupid subplot involving Eugene Levy and some uninspired attempts at easy humor nearly sink the film from the get-go. The weak script mystifyingly was nominated for an Academy Award. Still, it's not a bad little time-killer, but not the quality you'd expect from director Ron Howard (Grand Theft Auto, Apollo 13).
©1997 Vince Leo