September 2nd 2015
(Full review coming soon - with better wording)
The story focuses on a man named Allen Bauer who works at a wholesale fruits and vegetables business in New York City, with his slacker brother, Freddie. When Allen was 8, he had a strange encounter with a little girl during a ferry trip by Cape Cod. When he saw something strange underwater, he jumped off the ferry and met the strange girl underwater, only to be pulled back onto the ferry after the bizarre encounter.
Ever since that odd day, he has had a fascination with the mysterious girl, which has hampered his relationships with the women he has dated over the years and is mostly dissatisfied with his current life situation. After a break up, he makes a decision to suddenly make a trip to Cape Cod after a night of drinking with his brother.
He arrives in Cape Cod in the morning, and spends some time wandering the beach, where he meets a man named Walter Kornbluth, who is obsessed with proving mermaids are real, and the man is convinced that Allen is some sort of saboteur and makes him go away.
After that bizarre encounter, Allen decides to venture out into the ocean, only to have the boat break down and he is left alone by the boat's owner who swims to shore to retrieve another boat. Frustrated, he tries to start the boat, which he succeeds in doing, only to fall out. As he struggles to stay afloat (He can't swim), he is struck in the head by the boat and sinks.
Before he drowns, he is rescued and when he wakes up on the shore, he sees a mysterious naked woman watching him. As he tries to talk to her and learn her name (And also gets a kiss from her), she jumps back into the ocean and disappears. He soon develops an obsession for this mysterious girl, but feels that he will never find her.
It turns out she's a mermaid and has a crush on Allen, so she decides to track him down through his wallet and uses a map on a sunken ship to find New York City. She also has an encounter with Kornbluth, who becomes obsessed with finding her and proving his theories about mermaids.
She immediately turns heads not only because of her beauty, but also the fact she makes an appearance at the Statue Of Liberty monument naked, which gets her arrested for indecent exposure, while the tourists take pictures.
While at work, Allen gets a call from the NYPD about the girl, and realizing who they are talking about, he races over and picks her up. He takes her back to his place where things get steamy rather quickly despite not knowing her name and that she can't seem to talk.
The next day, after a morning quickie, he leaves her in his apartment where she spends her time watching television and becomes intrigued by the various ads that pop up, so she ventures out to do some shopping with Allen's credit card after quickly learning English from the TV.
Allen eventually tracks her down to an electronics store and is baffled by her fast learning, and continues to be baffled, since she has no name (Or at least, a pronounceable one. When she tells him her name, it is a high-pitched dolphin-like noise that shatters glass). She decides to go with the name Madison, after they pass by Madison Avenue, and the two also begin a much more serious dating relationship that sends Allen over the moon.
However, he has no idea that she is actually a mermaid, and that their time together will be limited to a matter of days. She's also being hunted by Kornbluth who is intent to find her after seeing an article about her indecent exposure arrest, which also threatens to destroy things between Allen and Madison.
The story is pure 80's cheese, but the 80's sure knew how to dish out the cheese in ways that are endearing and wonderful. If most other films tried to do this in this day and age, they would probably fail. The story also has a good-natured and sweet vibe that never got on my nerves, but instead I enjoyed the story for its unusual characters and funny humor, with just the right amount of emotion peppered in the right spots.
The acting is also pretty solid, especially with a fairly early Tom Hanks role that is well performed (Though not as good as his performances in Sleepless In Seattle or You've Got Mail) as the naieve, slightly aloof Allen. Daryl Hannah also delivers a good performance as Madison, and is sweet and very charming, which is a bit strange for me, as my previous exposures to her have been through Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2, Blade Runner, and Steel Magnolias, where she played much stronger, and at times, more sinister characters (Except Steel Magnolias, of course). The film also has good performances by John Candy, who is still absolutely hilarious as the slacker, perverted brother, and Eugene Levy as the crazy scientist. The performances across the board are quite good.
If you enjoy 80's comedies, Splash will offer plenty to entertain you. If not, you will drown in 80's cheese and syrup. I laughed at the humor and it also made me feel emotion at times, despite having an undeniably cheesy story. I found it to be endearing and heartwarming because of these aspects.
Splash is not for everyone, especially for people who are not fond of films that are heavily ingrained within their time periods. It's cliched, it's cheesy, and it's very much a product of the 1980's. But, that's why I love it so much because those particular aspects are appealing to me. It's a terrific, excellent, funny and thoroughly underrated romantic comedy that I hope will get more appreciation in future years.