It will shock no one to learn that Tom Hanks doesn't provide a single audio commentary or behind-the-scenes anecdote for the Bosom Buddies DVD set. Apparently, that second Academy Award excuses an actor from ever having to share what was going through his mind when he stuffed his bra, donned a wig, and pretended to be a man pretending to be a woman for idiotic reasons.

The big ol' cross-dressing skeleton in Hanks' closet casts him as a would-be lothario who moves into the Susan B. Anthony hotel alongside friend, partner, and soulmate Peter Scolari. Alas, the Susan B. Anthony is an all-female enclave, so Hanks and Scolari have to masquerade as their own sisters to secure the hotel's affordable rent and intoxicating proximity to gorgeous airhead Donna Dixon. For better or worse, the show doesn't seem overly married to cross-dressing: Hanks and Scolari spend so little time in drag that Buddies feels less like a sitcom about opportunistic cross-dressers than like a garden-variety laugher about horny single guys who sometimes wear women's clothing.


Simultaneously tawdry and timid, the show can't decide whether it wants to be Three's Company or a show for kids whose parents won't let them watch Three's Company. Consequently, it's about sex-crazed single guys perpetually on the make who seldom seem to make it past second base. Dixon does the Charlie's Angels-style jiggling, Hanks and Scolari do the leering, and the laugh track is subtle only in that it seldom indulges in ample opportunities for catcalls and wolf-whistles. Hanks and Scolari are far from the only standouts in a cast that includes comic relief Wendie Jo Sperber and formidable character actress Holland Taylor, playing one of her trademark acid-tongued WASPs, but the overqualified cast sinks to the level of its material rather than elevating or transcending it. Perhaps the old canard about any American potentially growing up to be president is true: Hanks' ascension from this hackneyed sitcom should give anyone hope.

Key features: None.