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There is absolutely nothing wrong with Boat Trip. Nothing that an overhauled script and a different director couldn’t have fixed.
Talk about a comedy of missed opportunities. Boat Trip is like an archery range where all the participants are nearsighted and have forgotten to wear their glasses.
Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Saturday Night Live’s Horatio Sanz star as Jerry and Nick, a couple of libido-driven straight guys who book a trip on a cruise ship for the — and I quote — “Sex! Sex! Sex! ” They insult the travel agent booking their trip, who secretly “takes care of them ” byÂ placing them on a gay cruise. Oblivious to the point of ludicrousness, Jerry and Nick don’t notice the lack of women — or the plethora of hard-bodied, exceptionally well-groomed men checking them out — until the boat leaves dock.
Once they do notice, Nick, a moderate homophobe, desperately tries to extricate himself from the ship. Jerry, a little more forgiving of the situation, preaches tolerance and urges his friend to put the bigotry aside. Inevitably, they do what any two guys might do in a situation like this: drink like fish.
Jerry befriends a dance instructor named Gabriela (Roselyn Sanchez), the one real live straight girl on this good ship homopop. Naturally, Gabriela thinks Jerry’s one of the girls and he gamely perpetuates the ruse, presumably to score with her. Still, she can’t deny her feelings of amore: “We can’t see each other anymore, ” she says at one point. “Because I think I’m falling in love with you. ” Things go haywire when Jerry’s frosty former girlfriend (Viveca A. Fox) shows up and reveals the truth about Jerry’s sexuality.
The mistaken identity ploy has been a staple — not to mention paper clip and thumbtack — of romantic comedy for centuries, and writer-director Mort Nathan adds nothing new to the mix, unless incompetence counts.
Boat Trip is a long, dull voyage to the bottom of the sea, as Jerry and Nick are confronted with all manner of things gay — like a breakfast buffet ice-sculpture shaped like erect penises and a feisty Latino drag queen in the cabin next door. Nick also undergoes a profound sensitivity awakening, realizing that the gay men he’s been playing poker with every night are “a great bunch ” of guys.
“There’s a part of me that feels it’s wrong to be friends with gay men, ” Nick confides in Jerry. “And that makes me feel like a jerk. ”
Ironically, Nick doesn’t feel at all like a jerk when rabidly pursing a Swedish Sun Tanning Team — tall, buxom girls with accents — brought aboard the ship mid-cruise (don’t ask why, it’s not worth it). Nick’s pursuit of one of the girls, in particular, finds him in an unseemly compromising position with the sexually ambiguous coach (Lin Shaye) that’s far more embarrassing than it is uproarious.
Much of Boat Trip is an embarrassment, particularly for the stars. What, precisely, is wrong with Cuba Gooding, Jr., that makes him feel obliged to star in the most wretched comedies imaginable? Once a fine actor, lately he’s been frittering away his career on material far beneath his talents. Maybe he’s being blackmailed.
Gooding finds no comfort in the company of Sanz, one of those loud, overweight, bereft-of-talent, quote-unquote comics, who is more of an annoyance than a pleasure. He’s like a big, fat gnat. Or better still, he’s like a foghorn stuck in the “On ” position.
Slinky Sanchez offers little to the mix, though the oral indignity she’s forced to perform on a banana is enough to turn your stomach. It’s very nearly beyond the pale. I say very nearly, because Roger Moore plunges well, well, well beyond the pale as a salacious gay elder named Lloyd with an eye for Nick’s tubby buttocks. To watch Moore lasciviously lick a breakfast sausage with the tip of his tongue is an image you don’t want to see in any movie, ever. Unfortunately, it’s in this movie, and to witness it is to have all memories of Moore’s previous career as James Bond forever eradicated from one’s memory banks.
Boat Trip is a moment of high shame for Moore — as it would be for almost any veteran actor — and the fact that he allows himself to be caught on camera engaging in such icky wickedness (mistaking it for comedy) proves that he has no moral regard to the moviegoing public who allowed him to achieve fame.
Maybe this is Moore’s way of reminding us that he’s still alive and kicking. If that’s the case, we were better off believing him dead.
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