Plot: What’s it about?
Lawrence Bourne III (Tom Hanks) is part of a very wealthy family, and he usually just relies on his father to solve his problems for him. Lawrence also has a serious gambling problem, which his father hates to no end. And good ole’ Larry has gotten himself into a hard spot now, finding himself $28,000 in debt to a bookie. Tired of saving Larry’s ass and determined to teach him about money, Larry’s father refuses to lend him the money, which sends Larry into a spiral of panic. With the bookie’s collector’s hot on his trail, he asks a friend to allow him to take his place on a plane that leaves that night for Thailand, and he’s off to avoid those pesky collectors. Once there, Larry finds himself signed up for the Peace Corps, which is not at all what he expected! He meets fellow Corps members Tom Tuttle (John Candy) and Beth Wexler (Rita Wilson), and quickly finds himself wanting to achieve a high social status. Larry continues his streak of bad decisions, and strikes a deal with a local drug dealer to open up a bar and casino. Of course, Larry gets on the dealer’s bad side, and his life once again is in danger. Will Lawrence ever learn his lesson?
When I first received this disc, I had my doubts about how well the film would hold up over time. I had seen the movie years ago, and enjoyed it, but sometimes those films lose their value after so long, and become dated. That’s not the case with Volunteers, at least I don’t think so. This movie has everything a good comedy needs, hilarious writing, some great comedic actors, and zany situations. While this far from the funniest movie out there, this deserves a place in any comedy lover’s collection. Come on, catch phrases, antics, and for the love of Pete, it has John Candy in it, what more do you need? If you like the movie, the disc is a safe purchase, and I recommend at least a rental to all fans of comedy out there.
Volunteers uses three main leads, with a nice assortment of supporting actors to back them up. This is one of Tom Hanks’ early comedic roles, and he does a wonderful job. I wish he would make another funny movie, but he seems to be sold on drama, for now anyway. Here, Hanks (Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump) uses his charm and great comedic delivery to make his character just enough likable to sympathize with. The comic genius John Candy appears as well, giving another solid performance to his career roster. Candy (Uncle Buck, Who’s Harry Crumb) has the best lines in the movie, and truly steals the show. Candy and Hanks have good chemistry as well, which is vital to the film. The third of the leads is Rita Wilson (Now and Then, The Story of Us), who gives a charming turn as well. The supporting cast includes Gedde “What’s A Happenin’ Hotstuff?” Watanebe (Sixteen Candles), Tim Thomerson (Nemesis, Cherry 2000-YES!), and George Plimpton (When We Were Kings, Little Man Tate).
Video: How does it look?
Volunteers is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, which rocks! I love it when these older comedies get the deluxe visual treatment. The only issue with the transfer is a minor one, and has to do more with the source material than the transfer itself. There is some serious grain in some scenes, which can be distracting, but it only appears in a few scenes. Aside from that, this is a knock out transfer! All of the tropical colors shine here, with vivid hues and no oversaturation. Contrast levels are correct as well, detail is high in the darkest of scenes. The disc is also free from compression errors.
Audio: How does it sound?
The stereo track included is adequate, with all the elements getting their just due. The music is very good for this film, and it sounds good here. Dialogue is the main focus, and it sounds clear, with no overpowering from the other audio elements.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc contains the theatrical trailer as well as some talent files.