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Film review: Tomcats

The film itself may be little more than 90 minutes in length, but the taint of "Tomcats" will remain with you for a long time.

It's equally tempting to say that this maliciously bad sex comedy will remain etched, painfully, forever in the mind of anyone unfortunate enough to see it, but that's probably giving the movie more credit than it deserves.

But it's hard to recall a recent film that was so ineptly directed, written and acted. It's almost as if writer/director Gregory Poirier and his cast completely forgot how to do their jobs in the process of making this film.

Just witness the number of subplots that are brought up and never resolved, the unsuccessful parodies of other films (most of which have already been done), the flood of unfunny sight gags and the lack of character development and progression.

Frankly, the most clever moment in "Tomcats" is probably its rather smarmy animated title sequence, and in all honesty, even that isn't all that intelligent or funny.

The film's title refers to a bet made by a group of pals who vow to remain single as they're watching another of their friends get married. (Members of the group refer to themselves as "Tomcats.")

In a case of putting their money where their mouths are, the Tomcats agree to participate in a "last-man-standing" — or to be more accurate, "last-man-married" — pool. Seven years later, the kitty stands at nearly a half-million dollars, but only two of the group remain single: struggling cartoonist Michael Delaney (Jerry O'Connell) and reasonably wealthy Kyle Brenner (Jake Busey).

Having run afoul of gangsters in Las Vegas, Michael desperately needs the money. So he schemes to get Kyle married off — to the only girl who seems to have made an impression on him, Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth, from "American Pie" and "Scary Movie").

After a fair amount of persuasion, she agrees to seduce Kyle, but only if he'll split the money with her, and only if she can exact her revenge on her one-time suitor. Complications arise when Michael and Natalie find themselves falling for each other, though Michael can ill afford it.

Making the transition from screenwriter to director, Poirier fails miserably. (His last produced work was the unintentionally funny thriller "Gossip.") For one thing, he can only come up with enough material for about an hour's worth of screen time, and then pads out the story with gross-out humor and easy jokes, none of which are even remotely funny. He also has no clue how to stage a scene, though admittedly, the uninspired cast doesn't help him out.

As Michael, the smug O'Connell makes a particularly unsympathetic lead, while doe-eyed Elizabeth tries to smile her way through every scene. Not that Busey is any better (his sole reason to be in the movie seems to be so he can wear thong underwear on camera). "Tomcats" is rated R for crude sexual humor (including a prolonged sight gag that's truly disgusting) and sex talk, frequent strong profanity, violence (gunfire and some slapstick bits), male and female nudity, simulated sex and sex acts and brief drug use (abuse of prescription drugs). Running time: 95 minutes.


E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com