It is said that everyone has a soul mate, someone with whom they are destined to fall in love and be with for the rest of their lives, regardless of age, gender, geography...
...or, it seems, species.
Splash is a 1984 romantic comedy directed by Ron Howard, surrounding the fairy-tale romance between Allen Bauer (Tom Hanks) and the mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who rescued him from drowning as a boy. Allen grew to adulthood, believing the young mermaid he saw in the water was only a hallucination, until she again saves him from drowning - but in doing so appears on the radar of Dr. Walter Kornbluth, an eccentric scientist who wants to prove the existence of mythical creatures like mermaids.
The mermaid seeks him out on land (she develops legs when her tail is dry), coming ashore on Liberty Island to track him down with information from his wallet, dropped during his latest dip in the ocean. As she has no concept of clothing, she is arrested for indecent exposure, and the cops release her into Allen's custody, based on the wallet she carries. But Kornbluth is hot on her trail, and he has scientific pursuits in mind for her...
Can these star-crossed lovers find romance? Can she convince Allen that his series of failed romances are just destiny knocking him on the head? What will their kids look like?
The film was followed by a TV movie sequel which recast all the lead parts and, despite a good performance by Amy Yasbeck as the replacement Madison, fell squarely into garbage territory.
- Apparently Human Merfolk: What Allen becomes at the end of the first movie, no tail like Madison but he can now breathe underwater.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Butt Monkey: Dr. Kornbluth.
- Calling Your Brother Out / What the Hell, Hero? / Dumbass Has a Point: Allen was mortified and angry when he finds out Madison, the one person he has come to love, is a mermaid. He starts rambling about how "people fall in love every day", and he ends up with (in his word) a "fish". However, his Comic Relief brother Freddie berates him for giving up on Madison, tells him that "people fall in love every day" is non-sense, and people can never be as happy as Allen felt when he was with Madison.
Allen: People fall in love every day, and look what I got.
- Kornbluth also calls out the other scientists, especially Ross, for performing experiments on a non-consenting person, and planning to dissect her.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Allen and Freddy's secretary, who was hit in the head with lightning.
- The Ditz: The brothers who help Kornbluth.
- Elevator Going Down
- Fish Out of Water: Quite literally.
- Fourth Date Marriage
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Freddie's prideful boasts that Penthouse Magazine printed his letter.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: During the rescue.
- Godiva Hair
- Hair of Gold: Madison.
- Haven't You Seen X Before?:
Freddie: What are you looking at? You never seen a guy who slept with a fish before? Get back to work!
- Heel Face Turn: Dr. Kornbluth, upon learning that his colleagues plan to dissect Madison.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Kornbluth.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Madison makes a spectacular landfall in search of Allen.
- Insane Proprietor: Crazy Eddie scares mermaids.
- Instant Expert: Madison was able to learn English from a single afternoon of watching television.
- Interspecies Romance: Wow, that got awkward in a hurry...
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Madison + water = mermaid.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: "No one here, just me and the moron twins." "We're not twins!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Freddie. He may be lecherous, rude, and insensitive, but he has a good core.
- Language of Love: Allen and Madison have a shag in an elevator before they even share a common language.
- And in the hallway. And in the kitchen. And on top of the fridge??
- Large Ham: Dr. Kornbluth.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Madison picks her name from a street sign.
- Loveable Sex Maniac: Freddy, who has been married countless times (even bringing a date to one of his own weddings), writes letters to penthouse and will pick up multiple women in one night. However, he's still our Plucky Comic Relief who believes in true love.
- Love At First Sight
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Kornbluth.
- Magical Girlfriend
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Madison has a healthy set of lungs... er, gills... oh, whatever.
- Mermaid Problem: Solved with the dry land = legs solution. The press points it out when they hound Allen with their ridiculous questions.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Allen and Madison meet as children, and instantly fall in love.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Dr. Kornbluth, when he learns they're going to kill the mermaid. All he wanted was to show people he's not crazy.
- Nipple-and-Dimed: Despite the Godiva Hair, there are a few underwater shots where the hair doesn't cover Madison's... uh, headlights.
- Nonhuman Lover Reveal: The first time she gets wet.
- One-Scene Wonder: Kornbluth's mentor.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: In an earlier drafts, a sea hag tells the mermaid that she can only stay on land for six days to find her human lover, and she must wet her tail every day. The finished product simplifies things by ruling that wet=tail, and dry=legs.
- This subplot makes sense, since Madison has to return to sea after six days or she "can never come back" and why Allen can't return to land.
- Painful Transformation: Ron Howard wanted something like this for the bathtub sequence, but decided it would ruin the appeal of the character.
- Playing with Syringes: When Allen goes to confront Kornbluth he is at the dentist. Expecting Allen to attack him, he grabs the syringe of anesthesia to defend himself.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: What nudity taboo?
- Rapunzel Hair: Madison.
- Starfish Language: "[My name is] hard to say in English..."
- They Would Cut You Up: One of the impending examinations when Madison is rescued is implied to be dissection, or possibly even vivisection.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Allen starts acting this way over Madison's strange behavior and her reluctance to marry him. Then he starts being sarcastic towards her, which upsets her and she runs away for a while. Allen regrets acting that way. But this gives Madison some time for consideration of whether or not to stay with him.
- Underwater Kiss: Must be a mermaid thing.
- The Unpronounceable: Madison's real name.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Freddy was last seen about to be arrested by the feds. If he goes to prison, and Allen never comes back, who's going to run the company?
- Your Universe or Mine?: When Madison must go back to the ocean, she tells Allen that he can go with her, but he will never be able to return to land. It is never explained why, perhaps it may have to do with the sea hag subplot. Still, he was reluctant at first but accepts readily after saving her from government frogmen.
- Its somewhat a Bittersweet Ending. The bitter part is Allen will never see his brother, friends, or even Kornbluth again. The sweet part is being with Madison always.
- Whitewashed in the sequel, as Madison reveals that she was just kidding and that it's actually perfectly okay for them to go back to land.
- It's possible it was a test question, how much would a human be willing to give up for his aquatic lover? Once Madison realized Allen was really going to stay with her, it was safe to tell him the truth.
- It is now. It went from unheard of to one of the most popular the year this movie came out.