You can basically read the whole story from the previews. Michael (Jerry O'Connell) makes a wager with his bachelor buddies: they each contribute $1,000 to a betting pool, and the last man in their group to get married wins the whole collection. The humble pool is invested in mutual funds, and in seven years, it grows to about half a million dollars. By this time, there are only two single guys left: Michael and his buddy Kyle (Jake Busey). But Mike has landed himself $51,000 in the hole with a Las Vegas casino, so he embarks on a plan to get Kyle married, whereby he can win the collection and pay off his debt. To aid him in getting Kyle hitched, he enlists the aid of the beautiful Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth), who plans to seduce Kyle into marriage, dump him, and split the money with Mike. It seems like a good plan to Mike, until he realizes that he's in love with Natalie and is delivering her right to Kyle, who is a first class a-hole.
On the surface, Tomcats looks like a comical enough movie. But it's loaded with one ridiculously idiotic premise after another, and in the end, you're left with a giant heap of nonsense. Let's begin with the casino debt. Mike is at the craps table, blowing his wad in order to impress a sexy golddigger. Some technicalities about the game of craps aside, there are two glaring absurdities. First, the casino extends Mike, a deadbeat cartoonist, a $50,000 line of credit. Second, when he loses the money, they send in Bill Maher to threaten him Mafia-style.
Maher, who plays a Jewish casino executive named Carlos, is some sort of throwback to decades of Las Vegas past. He threatens Mike with violence, then sends two thugs to routinely repossess parts of Mike's house on a daily basis until the debt is paid off. And this is all happening at the Hard Rock! Folks, casinos might strangle you with debt for a lifetime, but they aren't going to send goons to rough you up--especially for $50,000.
Also completely unbelievable is all the trouble Mike goes through to get himself out of this debt. What is with the scheme to get his friend married under false pretenses? The logic is quickly thrown out the window: when Natalie points out that Kyle is loaded, and asks Mike why he doesn't just ask his friend for a loan, he says shortly, "Because he doesn't loan money." Oh, isn't that convenient? Okay, fine, even if Kyle doesn't want to bail his friend out, why doesn't Mike just take a loan out against the half a million dollars in the betting pool!? As you can see, this movie has decided that the easiest course of action clearly isn't the funniest, so we're forced to put up with a lot of hard-to-swallow bull.
Then there's Natalie. She's sexy, she's smart, and she's tough--yet somehow, she gets taken in by Kyle and gets her heart broken as she becomes another notch on his bedpost. Now I can accept the notion that perfect women might fall for the wrong guys, but it's only believable to a certain point. For cryin' out loud, we're talking about Shasta McNasty here! His goal is to sleep with every woman on earth, and by all accounts, he seems to be succeeding! How is this possible!? How is he landing all the chicks with his pasty ass and bad pick-up lines like, "You need some Visine, so you can get a clear view of our future together"? Oh, and by the way: just to make things even more realistic, Shannon Elizabeth's Natalie is an undercover vice cop who routinely kills people.
All of these points may sound like nitpicks, and probably qualify me as one of the stuffy film critics I generally hate. But the fact of the matter is that they all add up into one giant mess of a story.
Even though Tomcats doesn't make much sense, though, it doesn't mean you can't have fun with all the moronic fluff. If this movie is about anything, it's about the eye candy. Hordes of gorgeous women abound. I don't know if the creators were exclusively casting models, whores, or model whores, but there's enough silicone in this flick to choke a herd of elephants. Shannon Elizabeth is gorgeous, of course. And Jaime Pressly, in a small but memorable role, adds a sexy kick to the story as a suspected lesbian caught in several misunderstandings worthy of Three's Company.
Some gross-out jokes (most noticeably, Mike's quest to retrieve a runaway testicle) make There's Something About Mary's hair gel scene look tame by comparison. Then there's the sex jokes, such as Kyle discovering the surprising results of having sex with a girl who is vomiting. And finally, a brief parody of that pile of crap Mission: Impossible 2, complete with John Woo's overdone doves, presents a short moment of comedic brilliance.
Tomcats is virtually impossible to believe, and the hokey story about true love is more an afterthought than the movie's main point. But if you don't give a damn about story and are interested in low-brow, vulgar comedy and tons of eye candy, then this is the flick for you.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)