BACHELOR PARTY VEGAS - DVD review

The original Bachelor Party, with Tom Hanks, didn't set the bar all that high. Bachelor Party Vegas doesn't rise above it, but it doesn't sink below it either.

James Plath's picture
James
Plath

Let's face it. Bachelor parties aren't high teas or artsy soirees, so a movie titled "Bachelor Party Vegas" shouldn't be expected to deliver sensitive drama or witty comedy—just appropriately raunchy fun and a night that's memorable. But if this film proves anything, it's that "memorable" isn't always a positive word. And bachelor parties aren't just babes, booze, and boogying. That's what five friends from Chicago find out when they hop a plane to the center of Wayne Newtondom and end up having a series of mishaps that could rival "The Out-of-Towners" or "Adventures in Babysitting."

Kal Penn, Jonathan Bennett, Donald Faison, Charlie Spiller, and Aaron Himelstein aren't bad guys to spend an evening with. They're a likeable bunch and believable as five friends who are basically nerds trying to convince each other that they're cool. But their nerdiness catches up to them, as it always does. You can run, but you can't hide.

The real problem, though, is a script that starts out promising enough—like a Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker bit of zaniness—then ends up getting just plain dumb before serving up an O. Henry ending and a homily on friendship. In the early going, at least, there are some funny and satisfying gags. Some of the airport scenes, for example, are reminiscent of "Airplane!," including a hilarious bit on the plane when the boys chug down straight mini-bottles and try to shock the little old lady in their midst by booting up their laptop and starting a porno flick featuring a melon-breasted blonde. But the granny, not missing a beat, asks, "Would you like to see my pussy?" "God no," one of them replies, and they all cringe. "Well, then, turn that off," granny says. "I like my pornography with a story. If I have to see yours, you're going to see mine." And slam, bam, no thank-you ma'am, they quickly put the laptop away and sit as straight and quiet in their seats as disciplined schoolchildren.

Even when they touch down in Vegas and the package deal booked by Z-Bob (Penn) turns out to be less than advertised, there are still funny moments. When they hop on a 24/7 bus in which they're supposed to be seduced by a gorgeous woman, instead they find a bait-and-switch. Coming on to them is the leathery old lady (Lin Shaye) with the dog in "There's Something About Mary," and she grosses out the guys she's trying to make love to while totally collapsing the others into piles of laughter. But these Midwesterners are so nice that they can't even insult the fat bus driver who changes places when the woman suspects they're not reacting to her "properly" because they're obviously gay. The raunchy laughs are here, folks, though the humor isn't nearly as raunchy as you'd expect for a film of this sort. It's more situational comedy. But somewhere between the paintball game in the desert with a bimbo as the bulls-eye and their actual landing in Vegas, things start to slowly melt into a puddle of ordinariness. Even a cameo by Jaime Pressly seems a wasted opportunity, as if writer-director Eric Bernt had about as much idea of what to do with her as his hapless heroes. The gags aren't as funny as the film progresses, and the lines aren't as clever—though it never, thankfully, gets as bad as the worst of these raunchy, just-for-fun flicks. It's just predictable in some of its conventions—like the groom-to-be (Bennett) being too nice to bed a call girl.

The interest picks up a bit when Vincent Pastore makes an appearance as Carmine, a kind of wedding planner for bachelor parties. The actor who played "Big Pussy" on "The Sopranos" is a dealer in pussy in this film, and it's fun to see him in another context—though, as with Pressly, he seems underused. As I said, "Bachelor Party Vegas" is less a party with dancing and babes and booze than it is a series of mishaps that begins when the boys use betting chips Carmine gives them . . . and the chips turn out to be bogus, which comes to everyone's attention when the casino is robbed and the boys are suddenly suspects. So it's run, boys, run, for most of the film, from one pitfall to another, with run-ins with cops, bikers, porn-film makers, a female Elvis impersonator, and sewer rats.

"Bachelor Party Vegas" is rated R for "strong sexual content and humor including dialogue, nudity, language, and some drug use"—though the rating for nudity is debatable. It's all female frontal, and there isn't a single natural breast to be seen. It's all silicone, with every breast the size and shape of a 16" softball.

Video: Why is it that films that are unapologetically dumb are always high quality? This one is mastered in High Definition and presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The quality, as you'd expect, is excellent, so that you can see every R-rated detail.

Audio: The audio is an energetic Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitles in English and French. There are a lot of Foley effects in this film, and the sounds are appropriately distributed across the speakers, with a lot of rear-speaker action.

Extras: There are no extras, which is also typical for films like this, isn't it?

Bottom Line: The original "Bachelor Party," with Tom Hanks, didn't set the bar all that high. "Bachelor Party Vegas" doesn't rise above it, but it doesn't sink below it either. It's a film that, when all is said and done, you don't turn off because it's so bad and you don't regret having wasted your time watching it. But you end up thinking it could have been better, and wondering why it wasn't.

Ratings

Video
8
Audio
8
Extras
1
Film Value
4