A few posts ago, I discussed one of my favourite Tom Hanks movies, “Big”. It continues to be one of my top rated childhood movies. But another of my favourite Tom Hanks films has got to be Ron Howard’s 1984 romantic fantasy, “Splash”. It not only featured Hanks in his first leading man role past his work on sitcoms like “Bosom Buddies” and “Family Ties”, but it introduced Daryl Hannah to the world.
Hanks stars as Allen Bauer, a man who lives in New York City, and who operates a fruit and vegetable stall with his lecherous brother, Freddie (an always superb John Candy). Depressed after his girlfriend leaves him, Allen embarks on an excursion to Cape Cod. When he falls into the sea, he’s rescued by a mysterious woman(Daryl Hannah). What Allen is unaware of is that he has had an encounter with this woman before- she also rescued him when they were kids.
The woman, armed only with Allen’s wallet, tracks him down. After a hilarious sequence of misunderstandings, she’s arrested for public nudity, after which Allen bails her out. He is at first taken aback by her odd personality quirks (namely, her ability to pick up English in a matter of hours by incessantly watching television). She famously picks “Madison” as her name while they are walking down a certain avenue. Allen gradually enters into a relationship with Madison, not realizing that Madison has something rather fishy to hide…
Meanwhile, local scientist Kornbluth (Eugene Levy) suspects Madison of being a mermaid, and sets out to prove himself right, by getting her wet and exposing her scales. But will this revelation tear Allen’s relationship with Madison apart?
“Splash” is a feel-good film that I feel that most kids would enjoy. However, there some rather amorous moments between Allen and Madison which might not be suitable for some kids. The movie gets a tad darker towards the end, when Madison’s secret is threatened. But it’s safe to say that the majority of the sexual jokes and references will sail over the heads of younger kids.
For me, “Splash” is one of my favourite of Tom Hanks movies, being a very close second to “Big”. He conveys being a straight-laced businessman who is abruptly thrown into a rather zany situation quite well. Daryl Hannah makes a striking impression as an innocent, mystical dream girl who wins Hanks’ love. John Candy is as brilliant as ever, providing comic relief as the goofy Freddie. Eugene Levy is also gives a strong supporting performance as the obsessive scientist who eventually sees the error of his ways.
It was followed in 1988 by a TV movie, entitled “Splash Too”, featuring none of the original cast members. While that film is credible enough, it doesn’t beat the sheer feel- good nature of the first movie. I give “Splash” three and a half out of five stars, as it’s very enjoyable for the most part!