“Drugs to the Right, Hookers to the Left”

Rick Gassko is about to get married. The fact that Rick is a part-time school bus driver and looks like, well, Tom Hanks has not prevented him from getting engaged to the lovely Debbie Thompson (Tawny Kitaen). Debbie is a child of wealth and privilege who inexplicably works retail. As expected, Debbie’s parents despise Rick, and are actively lobbying for Debbie to get back together with her unctuous ex, Cole. Robert Prescott portrays Cole in the smarmy rich boy style that he would later adroitly mold into perfection as Kent in “Real Genius.” He wants Debbie back as well, and when his attempt to bribe Rick out of marrying her fails, he sets out to sabotage the relationship.

Meanwhile, Rick’s buddies have quite correctly decided to throw him a bachelor party. Looking at Rick’s friends, it doesn’t take Kreskin to predict that this particular party will be an affair of unusual splendor. Leading the bunch is “T.J. Hooker” alum Adrian Zmed as Rick’s plucky best pal O’Neill. Zmed exists in this movie solely to have great hair, goad his buddy on to greater decadence, and sing an atrocious 80’s-ish generic rock song with the hired band. It marked the first time since Erik Estrada sang Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” on an episode of “CHiPs” that I was seized with the desire to puncture my own eardrums.

Barry Diamond plays Rick’s auto mechanic friend Rudy. Diamond’s obvious frame of reference for the role of Rudy is John Belushi in “Animal House,” and perhaps Rudy is Senator Blutarski’s little brother, the one who ate too many paint chips as a child. He inhales beer, huffs potato chips, and pitches woo to the donkey lady. Rounding out Rick’s compadres are Michael Dudikoff (the American ninja from the “American Ninja” movies) as Ryko, William Tepper as Rick’s brother, Dr. Stan Gassko, Gary Grossman as the nerdy Gary, and Bradford Bancroft as…Brad (writer-director Neal Israel apparently ran out of steam while naming the characters).

Debbie’s friends (only Tom Hanks’ “Bosom” chum Wendie Jo Sperber – as Stan’s proctologist wife Tina – is notable) throw her a shower that is disrupted by two vibrator-wielding hookers hired by Gary but deviously sent to the palatial Thompson home by Cole. Undaunted, the ladies retire to Chippendale’s, only to be further humiliated by the actions of one Nick “The Dick,” who is coerced by the boys to surprise Debbie’s mother with an authentic “foot-long.” The ladies vow revenge in the only way allowed in American sex comedies: dressing as hookers and crashing Rick’s bachelor party, which is now in full effect at the Biltmore Hotel.

“You Said ‘No Hookers,’ Stan!”

Being a typical red-blooded American male, I have been to many bachelor parties. Mostly they consist of men sitting in close proximity to scantily clad women while honing their amateur drinking skills. Many of these events take place in a miasma of quiet desperation, as the doomed man realizes, perhaps for the first time, exactly what awaits him on the morrow. Nonetheless, I have never had the privilege to be at one where hookers were in attendance, and this movie represents an ending to those halcyon days when “professionals” at bachelor parties were, if not expected, at least winked at by polite society.

The hookers in question look nothing like actual streetwalkers, which we can perhaps attribute to the absence of crack on the streets in 1984. And anyway, no one seemed to have a problem with Julia Roberts as a hooker in “Pretty Woman,” so shut the hell up about it already. Better still, “Bachelor Party” has an honest-to-Vishnu Hindu pimp, a move that brilliantly foreshadows the rise of Bollywood and Indian cinema.

Or maybe not. Can’t blame a guy for trying.

With hookers in attendance, the party can finally get started right. Booze and drugs flow in a veritable River Lethe of abundance, while a donkey and his human partner entertain the crowd. As Adrian Zmed takes the stage, shirtless, with his necktie cinched around his head “Rambo”-style, you know things are about to hit the fan. Before you can say “Poncharello,” Debbie and her friends have arrived in all their Frederick’s of Hollywood finery, and Mr. Thompson himself is showing up to speak at the hotel’s annual Elks convention. Oh baby.

Get the rest of the story in part three of FOOTAGE FETISHES: “BACHELOR PARTY”>>>

Posted on December 16, 2002 in Features by

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