Splash, Ron Howard's bubbly romantic comedy fairy tale, marks Tom Hanks at his early screwball best, as light and buoyant then as he has since become serious and stately. In one of his first prominent film roles, Hanks effectively plays the loosey-goosey romantic idealist Allen Bauer. Darryl Hannah brings touching innocence to the role of the adult mermaid, hiding her identity from Bauer by never allowing her legs to get wet with saltwater -- which would transform them into her telltale fin. There are a lot of cute, (forgive the pun) fish-out-of-water set pieces in New York, the most farfetched of which is Hannah's character learning English after a day of watching TV at Bloomingdale's. While Hanks is quite funny, and sometimes as charmingly naïve and hopeful as his best moments in Big, the film's considerable laughs belong mostly to John Candy and Eugene Levy. Candy plays his typical loveable lout, a jokester with soul, and Levy is riotous as the oft-injured scientist villain, whose apropos refrain ("What a week I'm having!") is supported by a chain of slapstick scenarios that only Levy could play with such goofy frustration. At the helm, Howard strikes a sweet balance between humor and sentiment in one of the earliest of a string of directorial successes.
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The mermaid comedy classic Splash comes back to DVD in a jam-packed 20th Anniversary Edition thanks to Touchstone Home Entertainment. Presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen picture with brand-new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the flick looks and sounds better than ever. Bonus features are where this sucker really scores the points, and it all starts with the "Making a Splash" all-new featurette. Clocking in at 24 minutes and chock-full of interviews new and old, the making-of is a fun and informative look at the film through the eyes of all involved (including a few archival moments with the great John Candy). Also worth a look are the original Ron Howard audition tapes with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. An introduction by Howard leads you into these interesting glimpses at the stars-before-they-were-stars as they work out deliveries and character quirks in a back-and-forth with the director. If that weren't enough, you also get a group commentary from Ron Howard's gang of partners in crime, including the director himself, his spiky-haired producer chum Brian Grazer, and the hilarious comedy writing duo of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. The chat is light and brisk as the track bops its way along, with Mandel and Ganz cracking wise every chance they get, while Grazer proves once again why producers don't make for good commentators -- the "This is Brian" tag that he throws in literally before everything he says gets old really fast! Some would call out the studio for not including a trailer, but that unfortunately seems to be the norm in big discs these days. If you're a fan of the flick and have been looking forward to a better version than the first slim release, you'll flip over this edition.
All Movie Guide
|Source:||Walt Disney Video|
|Sound:||[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]|