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When he was a little boy,
Allen met a little joy
When he jumped into the sea
To see a thing that couldn’t be.
When he’s grown and in a suit,
Making money selling fruit,
He bemoans the fact that he
Can’t seem to love, and girls agree.
When he’s dumped, he’s acting odd
And feels attracted to Cape Cod.
Falling in the sea again,
He’s rescued by a woman then.
Back in New York, he is down
Till that nude girl comes to town.
Though she seems a little dim,
She can’t keep her hands off him.
She’s a mermaid, on the sly,
Growing legs when she is dry.
Learning English in a day,
She and Allen bond and play.
As this human world amuses,
Madison’s the name she chooses.
Allen’s brother tells him plain
That he’s in love, and not in vain.
When he tries to then propose,
Though she’s new to ice and clothes,
She insists she cannot stay,
But then decides that it’s okay.
A scientist who saw her fins
Tries to prove his claim and wins.
Vindicated, this Kornbluth
Regrets soon that he showed the truth.
Allen’s shocked that she’s a fish;
She may end in a petri dish.
When he’s sure he loves her still,
He tries to thwart the experts’ will.
Kornbluth helps him save the lass,
But then troops give chase, alas!
To the sea, both Allen and she
Flee to be free happily.

Directed by Ron Howard, Splash is a fun romantic comedy with some great lines and several distinctions under its belt. Not only was it Tom Hanks’s first mainstream film, but also Disney’s first foray into more mature films using their Touchstone Films production company. It certainly could have been more family-friendly by omitting the language and hiding Madison’s nudity better, but it’s still an enjoyably funny film on the whole.

Bringing his famous likability in full force, Hanks continued the comedic charm from his TV show Bosom Buddies, and it’s no wonder Daryl Hannah as Madison was so attracted to him. Her beauty, naiveté, and obvious love for Allen give Madison the right amount of character development, even though we learn very little about her past life under the sea or the rules she is forced to obey concerning her visit to dry land. It’s unfortunate that Allen turns into such a jerk when Madison doesn’t immediately agree to marry him and then again when he finds out her secret. Yes, I can understand his shock and confusion, but he practically treats her like she’s a different person. Second City alumni Eugene Levy and John Candy are also hilarious as the eccentric and unlucky Dr. Kornbluth and Allen’s pervert of a brother Freddie, respectively.

Mermaids are often seen in passing in fantasy movies, but Splash is one of the few that makes it the main focus, and quite entertainingly too. Its underwater scenes are well-filmed, though the scenes at the bottom of Cape Cod had some glaringly out-of-place tropical coral reefs. Credited with single-handedly popularizing Madison as a girl’s name, Splash excels in its endearing chemistry between Hanks and Hannah (long before Meg Ryan became his go-to girl). With its legs-when-dry/fins-when-wet precedent, re-used in other media like the film Aquamarine and the show H2O, it offers the best live-action mermaid story I’ve seen.

Best line: (Allen, talking about their planned marriage) “It just so happens I come from a very long line of married people.”

VC’s best line: (Dr. Kornbluth, to Allen) “I’m really a nice guy. If I had friends, you could ask them.”

Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 8
Watchability: 9
Other (language, nudity): -2
TOTAL: 47 out of 60

Next: #158 – Ella Enchanted

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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