There are enough goddamn Brodown Showdown™ comedies being made out there that one can assume a sizeable audience exists and finds its way to these films. For every Hangover, there seems to be five obscure comedies about guys getting into all kinds of hijinx that involving puking and getting their dicks caught in things. It is, after all, one of the cheapest genres to work in since men are prone to doing stupid shit whether there is a camera around or not. Cinema has a long and storied tradition of films featuring dudes getting their dicks caught in things, going all the way back to 1970’s MASH. One of the more nondescript entries in the genre is 1984’s Bachelor Party, a merely OK film that has stood the test of time based mostly on the fact that it starred a young actor named Tom Hanks who went on to greater fame in classic films like Bonfire of the Vanities and The Terminal.
Bachelor Party has the benefit of having such a generic plot that it’s practically impossible not to rip it off if your movie is about a bachelor party. For the uninitiated, Bachelor Party stars around a zany young man (Hanks) who is much hated by his girlfriend’s (Tawny Kitaen) conservative family. As he’s about to get married, his buddies (led by TJ Hooker’s Adrien Zmed) throw the bachelor party to end all bachelor parties. Things get out of hand fast and zany things happen, sticking it to the uptight conservatives in the process. Sound familiar? Good, ‘cause we’re about to cover some familiar ground.
Ron (Josh Cooke) and Melinda (Sara Foster) have only been dating for a few months, but they’re so madly in love that they decide to get married. Melinda’s douche brother Todd (Warren Christie) agrees to bankroll Ron’s opulent bachelor in order to trick him into cheating on his fiancée, forcing her to dump him and assuring that Todd keeps his inheritance. Ron’s bowling buddies tag along: crass slacker Jason (Greg Pitts), obsessive-compulsive nerd Seth (Danny Jacobs) and thrice-divorced misogynist shithead Derek (Harland Williams), who’s forced by his ex-wife to bring his preteen son along. The bunch of them head out to Florida for a weekend of debauchery and laborious gags.
As per frat-boy comedy rules, straight white men are the norm and everyone else is the oppressor. Williams’ character has two children who speak to him only in Mandarin (as per the instructions of his ‘bitch ex-wife’) and take a shit in a potted plant. An early misunderstanding ends with Ron’s engagement ring being given to a fat, sassy black woman who browbeats her boyfriend into marrying her, then kicks Ron’s ass. Women are hateful money-grubbing shrews, sex-starved whores or (in what I’ll admit is a novel twist) sex-starved Nazi whores. There’s a senile old bat who waxes poetic about the sexual proficiency of her ‘Negro milkman’ and a gay male stripper who loves women’s shoes so much he can’t do his job. The only Asians are panicked tourists who snap a lot of pictures. Sex addicts hear the word orgy and are immediately whipped up into a frenzy (an orgiastic one, of course). It is intimated that gay bikers gang-rape a crippled man in a hot tub. Truly, no stone is left unturned. This kind of humour is par for the course in this kind of lowest-common-denominator comedy but Bachelor Party 2 doesn’t even have a Ken Jeong to give the uncomfortable xenophobia some bite.
And the hijinks, boy oh boy, was my face ever red! Derek and Jason crash an SAA meeting that they believe to be a Sales Associate Association – but guess what, it’s actually sex addicts! So when Jason talks about his grandpa teaching him early, HE’S ACTUALLY REFERRING TO BEING MOLESTED! BY HIS OWN GRANDPA AND HIS BOY SCOUT LEADER! AND IT TURNS ONE OF THE SEX ADDICTS ON! AND THEN LATER ON A TOPLESS STRIPPER FIGHT BREAKS OUT! This stuff is just gold. It’s often hard to write about comedy since describing a joke undoes all the work that’s gone into crafting the joke in the first place. I’m pleased to announce that’s not the case here; everything is exactly as funny as it sounds.
While the boys are getting into trouble in Florida, Todd’s wife (Karen-Eileen Gordon) throws Melinda a surprise bachelorette party. Predictably, it’s nothing like those dirty bachelorette parties with the dude in the bear suit you see on the Internet. Instead, they get stuck in a dive bar hitting on ancient barflies while Ron has his monogamy tested by a beautiful girl named Eva (Emmanuelle Vaugier) who LOVES the Cleveland Browns (his team), is an avid golfer and is ALSO ENGAGED. How convenient that she too has decided to hang out in South Beach. The stripper the women have hired turns out to be so gay he can’t help but freak out over Melinda’s shoes, so Melinda’s mom (Audrey Landers) takes them to her book club. It turns out to be a giant mansion where upper-class ladies grope (ostensibly straight) male strippers and eat scones off their abs. At first, I was kind of enjoying the progressive gender politics; after all, in most of those movies the bride sits at home and worries and screams at everyone… but then I remembered the rest of the movie.
The only thing that all these doofy male-oriented movies have in common is a crew of likeable characters. The Hangover? Douches, but likeable. Hot Tub Time Machine? Unfunny, but I like all those guys. Animal House? Come on. Caddyshack? Unlikeable leads, killer supporting cast. Even the original Bachelor Party worked at about the same level of sophistication but it had TOM FUCKING HANKS in the lead. Bachelor Party 2 has nothing. Cooke has a likeable face but his character is a fucking wet blanket cypher that only serves to springboard two boring archetypes (the fat horndog, the panicky nerd) and the character of Derek, who spews so much venom and hate throughout he comes off as even more twisted and evil than the ostensible villain. I’ve never liked Harland Williams but his shtick has always struck me as relatively harmless; here he has the same persona but constantly spewing xenophobic garbage that’s not the least bit funny. It doesn’t even have any half-assed cameos! You’d think that Adrien Zmed and Tawny Kitaen wouldn’t pass up a role in anything these days, but even they’re nowhere to be found.
I often say I watch bad movies because they help me appreciate the good ones; this is particularly true in the case of Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation. It’s so bad that it makes movies that aren’t really so good (like Hot Tub Time Machine) look significantly better in comparison. I’m glad the film is already out on DVD because I wouldn’t want to be caught dead praising it, even faintly, but one thing I can Bachelor Party 2 is not any worse than similar films that have made it to theaters. It ain’t no Miss March, that’s for damn sure.
So why does it exist?
Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation came out when I still worked in a video store. In an unprecedented move, the distributor only sent us copies that were packaged with copies of the original. Since we doubted that our customers would flock towards ten DVD copies of a 25-year-old film, we passed. Since this movie has about as much to do with the original Bachelor Party as pretty much any other sex comedy with this rough framework, I can only assume that this entire film was made for the sole purpose of moving copies of a half-forgotten movie from 1984.