Volunteers (1985) from Tuna

Volunteers (1985) is a mostly unfunny comedy staring Tom Hanks as a spoiled Yalie who runs off to the Peace Corps to avoid paying a huge gambling debt.
He is off to Thailand with a "Long Island Princess", played by Rita Wilson, whom Hanks would later marry in real life, and with John Candy as Tom Tuttle from Tacoma. Candy is to build a bridge across the river for a small town. The CIA, a drug lord, and the Red Chinese all have interests in the bridge. Hanks tries to scam his way to success. 


Jude Mussetter briefly shows breasts and buns during the setup as the Smith valedictorian who beds Hanks.
The film includes homages to many films including Bridge On the River Kwai. The performances are all over the top, but there are  some nice scenics.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • no features

Scoop's notes:

This movie is not just a bad movie that Hanks happened to be in. The script has some clever moments. To a great extent, Tom and the other actors made it a bad movie with unsubtle, unfunny characterizations.  Every time we think that Tom Hanks is a venerable acting icon, it may be good to remember his humble roots. He has been in the following:

  • He Knows You're Alone
  • Volunteers
  • Joe vs The Volcano
  • The Money Pit
  • Turner and Hooch
  • The Man With One Red Shoe
  • Dragnet
  • Bachelor Party
  • Bonfire of the Vanities
  • the 'burbs

In other words, before his 1992-2000 career as Tom Hanks, he had an earlier 1984-1990 career as Pauly Shore. Of course, Hanks had a couple good ones in that earlier career, like Splash and Big, so on that basis alone he wasn't quite in Paulyland.

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 1.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.8 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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