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Movie Review

Michael Delaney and his buddies, self-christened Tomcats, are hard-core bachelors. That is, until the first of them gets married. Then the rest of the guys panic. Vowing to avoid the ball and chain, they make a wager on who will be the last single guy standing. Each throws a couple hundred dollars in the pot and resolves to reinvigorate the group’s quest to "nail every woman on the planet."

Seven years later, smart investing has grown their nest egg into half a million bucks. With only two unmarried Tomcats left, the stakes are high. When the gang meets up in Vegas for fallen Cat Steve’s wedding, Mike lands himself $51,000 in debt. So he hatches a plan to marry off his best friend Kyle and bag the cash from the Tomcat contest to pay off the casino. What he doesn’t count on is falling in love with Natalie, the very woman he’s recruited to seduce Kyle.

That’s the plot. But really, the makers of Tomcats shouldn’t have bothered. The imbedded sweet—albeit already-been-done—love story is the kind of thing that generally appeals to women. Not to the testosterone-crazed, titillation-seeking portion of the male population at whose feet this movie grovels. And how any self-respecting woman could last beyond the opening credits is beyond me.

positive elements: Falling in love with Natalie changes Mike’s whole perspective on life. Suddenly, his debt is of secondary importance. In fact, he tells Steve, "For the first time in my life, someone else matters to me more than I matter to myself." From this point on, Mike’s main concern is preventing Natalie from getting sucked into a bad marriage to Kyle, no matter what it costs him personally.

spiritual content: Tomcats spares audiences the hypocrisy of church weddings. All the ceremonies are performed by justices of the peace—except for the one that’s done by a Muslim Elvis impersonator at a Las Vegas chapel.

sexual content is what this film is all about. It sets out to exaggerate every stereotype about male sexual preoccupation. And pretty much succeeds.

Guys are completely controlled by their hormones and think nothing of having multiple sex partners. Even multiple partners at the same time. Women are used like objects and then tossed aside. If a guy can’t "get some," then the obvious answer is masturbation, a subject that receives a lot of screen time during a sperm bank scene.

Deviant sex and sexual fetishes are given a thorough exploration, with not-so-subtle hints at bondage, sadism, sex with overweight women, pedophilia, etc. There are several group sex scenes. One Tomcat knocks himself out of the run for the money by "going gay." His subsequent gay "marriage" and adoption of several children is showcased. Steve suspects his wife of engaging in lesbian sex, and the audience is subjected to several silhouette scenes that far more than imply he’s right. When he finally does catch her in the act, he’s offended ... until she invites him to join in.

Kyle is diagnosed with testicular cancer. The resulting surgery lends itself too conveniently to an extended sight-gag in which Mike tries to retrieve the amputated testicle for his friend. His quest is foiled when it lands on a food tray and—horrors!—is eaten by a doctor.

Guys and girls are shown in various stages of undress, with the most revealing shots being of Kyle and Mike’s bare buttocks and the fully bared breast of a nursing mother. Many times sexual positions are implied. Plenty of cleavage is exposed.

Perhaps most saddening (or infuriating) is the no-questions-asked separation of sex from affection and commitment. In fact, Kyle blatantly states, "Love’s got nothing to do with it!"

violent content: There are two kind of violence in this film. The kind that’s mixed with sex, and the kind that’s not. Most notably, a seemingly prudish librarian bedded by both Mike and Kyle turns out to be an S&M dominatrix. To make matters worse, her grandmother also gets in on the act.

Presumably intended as comic relief in one of the film’s few serious scenes, Kyle runs over his current girlfriend with a golf cart. Twice. In a Mission: Impossible 2 spoof, Michael falls from a rock face he’s been climbing. Natalie knocks Kyle out with a fist clenched around a roll of quarters. A random shoot-out scene in which three criminals are gunned down is a throw bone for antsy viewers drooling for a shot of police violence.

crude or profane language: More than a dozen f-words, often used as harsh slang for sex. At least as many s-words and mild profanities. Tons of crude sexual references. More than 20 misuses of God’s name.

drug and alcohol content: Wine laced with a secret concoction has the effect of sexually arousing a whole room full of men. Booze pops up repeatedly as a background element for the Tomcats’ wild partying. Mike and his girlfriend play a drinking game in bed. Kyle is shown in the back seat of a car with a girl who is so drunk she vomits out the window, while he just continues with his sexual business. To calm himself down, Mike downs handfuls of some kind of pill (presumably aspirin or something similar). A few characters are briefly shown smoking.

other negative elements: Marriage and children are seen as frightening, suffocating and burdensome. Kyle sees no reason to stop sleeping with other women, even after marriage.

conclusion: Tomcats is former screenwriter Gregory Poirier’s first stab at directing. How does a guy whose writing credits include Disney’s The Lion King II get hooked up with this kind of lowbrow excuse for a comedy? The answer lies in Poirier’s X-rated pre-Disney past. Says porn industry film director John T. Bone, "Greg wrote 30 or 40 scripts for me, and he was good, really very good. The smut industry is proud of him." Poirier’s not the only one with a soiled past. Leading lady Shannon Elizabeth’s acting credits include sex romp American Pie and the over-the-top Scary Movie.

Considering this film’s dirty laundry and R-rating, you might assume that no one but hormonal twentysomething males will be seeing it. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong—a fact that was reinforced to me when I walked into the theater and saw college-aged men interspersed with a few spring-breaking teens, and one maybe-5-year-old girl, accompanied by someone who might have been a young dad or a big brother. Granted, Tomcats trailers are being liberally tossed around on television when viewers much too young to attend the film are watching, with the worst offenders being MTV and network coverage of the NCAA basketball tourney. But the fact that Hollywood may market a film to teens and children doesn’t make it appropriate for them. And don’t for a second think that "age-appropriateness" even begins to apply to Tomcats. Adults who choose to watch are, just like teens, reinforcing devious and unhealthy passions. Tomcats should be turned out to the dogs.


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