Boat Trip
review by Dan Lybarger, 14 March 2003

A lot of movies aim for the lowest common denominator. Boat Trip is merely low. There's no common denominator here. This flick is simply beneath its viewers.

Co-writer Mort Nathan once had a hand in the script for the Farrelly Brothers' Kingpin, but he has no recollection of what made the pervious film as amusing as it was tasteless. Boat Trip exudes tackiness, and there's even a semen gag like the one in There's Something about Mary. On his own, though, Nathan's not funny. He's merely gross.

His first of a multitude of blunders is trying to make the audience care about two of the dumbest bipeds in screen history. Ostriches have an edge over Jerry (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Nick (Horatio Sanz, a.k.a the loud obnoxious fellow you hire when Jack Black is too expensive or doing better things). The former is breaking his heart over a spoiled rich girl (a sadly misused Vivica A. Fox) who has dumped him months before, and Nick is so dim and annoying that he'll never have to resort to artificial birth control. Nick is so slight-of-brain that he accidentally insults his own mother while trading putdowns with rude strangers.

When Nick discovers that cruise ships offer even dolts like Jerry and himself the chance to meet available women, the two head for the travel office. They make the mistake of upsetting a travel agent (an unbilled Will Farrell, who's one of the film's few bright spots), and the bitter fellow sends the two would-be swingers on a gay cruise without telling them.

Much of the reason that Boat Trip is so dreary is that we as the audience figures out the setup long before these Rhodes Scholars get a clue. When two fellows in bondage outfits and a slew of drag queens pass by, Jerry and Nick's obliviousness seems insulting to both them and the viewers. Couldn't these guys at least notice there are no biological female passengers?

One of the guilty charms of Kingpin is that the characters were reasonably intelligent (Harrelson knows that bowling isn't the most practical way to make a buck), but fate still had a way of making fools of them. The scenario in Boat Trip inspires a "serves you right" contempt for the Nick and Jerry that never lets up. On board, Jerry falls for the only woman on the vessel, a dance instructor (Roselyn Sanchez, from Rush Hour 2) who prefers the company of gay men. Meanwhile Nick plays poker with some gay card sharks and discovers they aren't so bad. No kidding?

Jerry's situation was kind of amusing when it happened in the Rock Hudson comedy Pillow Talk. The idea's even funnier now because we now know that Hudson was a gay actor playing a straight character trying to convince a potential girlfriend he's gay ("I don't know how long I can keep this up," he says in a voiceover). Gooding's performance, of course has no such subtext or even substance. The Oscar winner stumbles through a drag show and does more mugging than a coffee shop. Having demonstrated a finesse in both drama (Boyz N the Hood) and comedy (Jerry McGuire), it's a shame this guy has continually squandered his formidable talent on undeserving junk like Chill Factor, Instinct and Pearl Harbor. Next time, Cuba, try reading the script before you sign the contract.

Many gay viewers will quickly tire of the stereotypes, and women get degraded as well. There's an irritating subplot involving a Swedish sunbathing team rescued by the cruise ship. One member is even played by Playboy video regular Victoria Silvstedt. Their arrival is so contrived that the site of scantily clad visitors quickly looses its ogle factor. As can only happen in a film like this, Silvstedt falls for Nick.

About the only think remarkably interesting about Boat Trip is that it features the first and only known pairing of movie icons James Bond and John Shaft. Roger Moore and Richard Roundtree both appear in Boat Trip but share no screen time and should probably consider erasing it from their résumés. At least Moore seems to enjoy playing a hedonistic cruise passenger, which is more than can be said for the rest of the cast.

As the movie progressed, I longed to hear Celine Dion warble about her heart going on, not because I like the sappy tune but because it would be an indication that this dreary boat would sink.

Directed by:
Mort Nathan

Cuba Gooding Jr.
Horatio Sanz
Roselyn Sanchez
Vivica A. Fox
Maurice Godin
Roger Moore
Lin Shaye
Victoria Silvstedt
Ken Hudson Campbell
Zen Gesner
William Bumiller
Noah York
Richard Roundtree
Bob Gunton
Jennifer Gareis

Written by:
Mort Nathan
William Bigelow

R - Restricted.
Under 17 requires
parent or adult






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