While watching 1984’s Bachelor Party, you get the sense that writer/director Neal Israel was enamored with the rascal best friend trope of ’70s and ’80s comedies and decided to make all of the characters in this film exactly like that.
In one of his earliest roles, Tom Hanks plays Rick, a perennial goofball whose only goal in life is to have a good time. But he decides that he finally wants to settle down with his girlfriend Debbie (Tawny Kitaen) and get married. Debbie’s parents come from old money and they despise Rick because he doesn’t seem to have any career goals. Or goals in general. But Debbie and Rick love each other and are dead set on proving everyone wrong.
Rick informs his best friends of the news and they’re thrilled–mostly because it gives the an excuse to throw him a bachelor party. But not just any bachelor party. They want to throw him one that’s legendary. Debbie’s okay with this as long as Rick promises to remain faithful.
Debbie’s father (George Grizzard) enlists Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, Cole (Robert Prescott), to scheme to have Rick break his promise to Debbie, which will surely guarantee they break up.
There’s definitely a lot of nonstop yelling within Rick’s group of friends, even when there doesn’t need to be. As though the filmmakers are trying to manufacture a sense of chaos, when they really don’t need to compensate for anything since the movie presents a believable party atmosphere. But instead of gradually and slowly building up the hijinks, Israel and company try to unnaturally instill it early on.
But Bachelor Party is smart in so many other aspects that we can forgive all this. The film avoids exploiting its conflicts for the sake of drama. The rift between Rick and Debbie is kept short and brief, without ever becoming a dramatic one that ends up shifting the entire film. It stays on course.
Rick is painted as an immature rascal, but you really see that he’s the most mature in his group of friends. Perhaps he’s even struggling with letting go of that maturity.
Bachelor Party holds up unbelievably well. The humor is still top notch by today’s standards. Hanks is hilarious and it’s obvious why he’s become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.