Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah star in this likeable 80’s comedy. Years after plunging into the depths of Cape Cod and apparently seeing a mermaid, Allen (Hanks) is a hard working vegetable market manager who is dumped by his girlfriend when his commitment problems get too much for her to bear. In order to ward off impending misery, Allen returns to Cape Cod where he is once again confronted by the mysterious mermaid.
Director Ron Howard, the man behind fellow 80’s classic Cocoon and Hanks’s Apollo 13, provides a piece reminiscent of Hanks’s other early work with Splash. Inoffensive and hugely entertaining, Splash is a forgotten 80’s gem that embraces the ridiculousness of the decade. While the following years bought us endless sequels and serious looks at ominous dystopias, the 80’s developed storylines that focused on the extraordinary. Here a mermaid given seven days to walk the streets of New York City provides the film its focus. Although Hannah is scantily clad throughout, the film is deserved of its PG rating. A treat for kids and adults alike, it wont fail to entertain.
When Madison arrives in New York she, rather understandably, reacts like a fish out water. Amazed by the surrounding lights, she only has eyes for Hanks’s Allen and the couple soon fall in love. Allen, not knowing Madison’s true identity, mistakenly believes her to be an amorous Cape Cod resident… that is of course until he starts to smell something fishy with her behaviour.
Hannah manages her role well. Dumb-founded by the city life of New York, her fumbling through social encounters (her wearing Hanks’s suit being of particular delight) are a treat whilst Hanks’s reaction to her odd customs, notably eating a lobster shell and all, inject the film with his unmistakable charisma. The late John Candy’s staple role of the loveable goof fills the shoes of Allen’s brother and, despite his innumerable flaws, make him just as likeable as the two leads.
Eugene Levy stars as a scientist intent on exposing Madison’s true identity and helps the story unfold in true ridiculous 80’s style. The madness that ensues after his exposé fits the film’s light-hearted core and leads to a suitably sappy ending. A must for 80’s fans and Tom Hanks fans alike, Splash is an enjoyable tail (arf) of love, hope and mermaids.
Best performance: Hanks arguably steals every film he’s in.