Splash (1984)

Genres - Comedy, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Romantic Fantasy, Urban Comedy  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

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.