Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah star in this 80's comedy re-imagining of the Little Mermaid fairy-tale which did what Disney is currently trying to do with its live-action adaptations of every animated film they've ever done but without any big special effects.
And all before Disney's The Little Mermaid was even released.
Really, on paper Splash should have been awful but in the safe hands of director Ron Howard and with a first class cast which also included John Candy and Eugene Levy, it was a big hit and was even nominated for an Academy Award back in 1984. By handling the movie like a grown-up (and literal) fish-out-of-water story with some romance and jokes thrown in, Howard manages to make Splash more of a modern fairy-tale adults can enjoy rather than corny, kids-only fare. The very good, very funny script keeps a perfect balance between comedy and fantasy and the cast is simply flawless from Hanks' lonely romantic to Daryl Hannah's wide-eyed, innocent mermaid.
Splash is one of those 80's comedies that just works and even though it's essentially a rom-com and Hanks has been known to star in some pretty cheesy rom-coms, it doesn't feel like that at all since you really do feel for those characters and genuinely don't want anything horrible to happen to them. In a way, the film mirrors E.T. in terms of what happens to the "alien" character as Madison's (Hannah) identity is kept hidden before it is eventually revealed to the world in heartbreakingly dramatic fashion which leads to big bad scientists taking over and screwing things up for everybody. There's a child-like wonder and naivety to this character which makes her a fragile entity that could break at any moment so seeing Levy's antagonist constantly attempt to ruin her life is both pretty entertaining since he keeps failing in increasingly amusing ways but also stressful.
All this to say: I definitely recommend checking out Splash. Miraculously it still holds up and it's one of those rare rom-coms that's charming enough to get into everyone's good books.