Monday, February 13, 2006

Volunteers *

I thought that Splash would be the bottom of the barrel for my Hanks retrospective viewing, but I was wrong. Volunteers marked a new low. In Volunteers, Hanks plays an upper-crust NE yankee, newly-minted Yale grad who gets in some gambling trouble (to the tune of $26,000). When Dad refuses to bale him out, he switches places with his roommate who was just about to get on a plane to Thailand with the Peace Corps. He heads off to Thailand with a gung-civil engineer (John Candy) and a sincere nurse (Rita Wilson). Now, I find John Candy funny even though his brand of slap-stick humor is not really my type, and I like Rita Wilson a lot (she plays Sam's sister in Sleepless in Seattle). In my opinion, the few funny bits in this film were given to Candy and Wilson. But Candy and Wilson get a lot less play in this comedy than Hanks, and I'm afraid that Hanks' character just isn't funny. I think Hanks does better playing the straight-guy in a comedy (Splash, Big, Sleepless in Seattle) than playing the comedic character (Volunteers, Ladykillers, the Terminal). On top of that, Hanks is supposed to affect an upper-crust NE accent, and he doesn't pull it off. Interestingly, the only other films that I've seen where Hanks does an accent is the Terminal and Ladykillers, and his accents are atrocious there too.