Splash | Chicago Reader

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Not for nothing did Ron Howard grow up on television: even as a filmmaker, he's got TV in his blood, slipping smoothly and instinctively into the chatty rhythms and open-ended sitcom plotting. This mild 1984 comedy about a mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who falls in love with a New York City yuppie (Tom Hanks) isn't at all hard to take (John Candy, in a supporting role, is hilarious and original, and Hannah has a pleasant naive charm), but its appeal is based almost entirely on regression—a thematic regression to infancy (now endemic to the American cinema) and a stylistic regression to the most lulling kind of TV blandness. No wonder it's relaxing: it's a lullaby. With Eugene Levy. 111 min.

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