Boat Trip (2002) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, language and some drug material
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Horatio Sanz, Roselyn Sanchez, Vivica A. Fox, Roger Moore, Lin Shaye, Victoria Silvstedt, Richard Roundtree, Bob Gunton, Will Ferrell (cameo)
Director: Mort Nathan
Screenplay: Mort Nathan, William Bigelow
Review published March 21, 2002
As a promotion, theatres showing Boat Trip should have the ticket window employees dressed as Charon, the ferryman of the dead of Greek mythology fame, to represent your own "boat trip" across the river Styx to experience 90 minutes of pure Hell. The craft on-screen isn't a ferryboat but a "fairy boat," a derogatory phrase to be sure, but derogatory is about the kindest thing you could call most of the humor that is found in this latest nail in Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s (Rat Race, Pearl Harbor) coffin of a career since winning the Oscar for Jerry Maguire. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that the writer-director's name is "Mort", the Latin root for "death".
There are other critics who will probably rant about the film because it is dubious in its stance regarding gay issues, or its views of women as sex objects, but I don't even feel the need to slam it on that level. The film is just flat out abominable on its own terms, with jokes so crude it gave me the sensation of sea-sickness without actually being on the ship.
The film starts out with Cuba playing Jerry, taking his fiancée Felicia (Fox, Batman & Robin) up for a romantic balloon ride in order to propose, whereupon he gets motion sickness, vomits all over her, then pops the question. (Yes, I know, but that's a mild scene compared to other bodily fluids we get to see Jerry spew out later in the film). Felicia then says no and that she is seeing someone else, sending Jerry reeling, and six months later, he is still not over losing her. Jerry's best friend, Nick (Sanz, Tomcats), gets Jerry to consent to a week-long cruise in order to meet women, but due to a switcheroo at the travel agency, they end up on a cruise full of gay men. Hilarity ensues.
Boat Trip is the worst adult sex comedy since Tomcats, and the two films are so similar in their level of bad taste and vulgar sight gags, a future DVD 2-pack seems almost inevitable. This is Mort Nathan's (Van Wilder 2) first directorial effort after spending the last several years as a television screenwriter and producer. He has one previous theatrical release to his credit, and it should come as no surprise when you learn it is the Farrelly brothers' disgusting comedy, Kingpin. Coincidentally, both films also feature Lin Shaye as the woman a character feels nauseous for accidentally performing oral sex on, pushing her all the way to #1 on the list of "Worst Roles You Can Be Typecast For."
How Boat Trip managed to score appealing actors who had a choice not to do this kind of movie is beyond comprehension. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is a terrific actor, and quite prolific, but either doesn't have the capability of passing up a bad comedy or he's getting some very bad advice. Vivica A. Fox must have a thing for men in drag, since it's the second film in a row to link her up to one (Juwanna Man is the other.) Roselyn Sanchez (Held Up, Basic) would seem like a hot commodity after her appealing role in Rush Hour 2, showing a Sandra Bullock-like charm that says she doesn't need to choose roles where she demonstrates fellatio on bananas. And poor Roger Moore should retire if he doesn't need the money. Sean Connery never had to lick sausage to earn a few extra bucks. Only Horatio Sanz seems to fit right in to this kind of a comedy, but I doubt that seems like much of a compliment. The film really is reaching desperately for laughs when he is flirted with or hit on by about a dozen of the men on the boat. You'd wonder how such a portly and offensive character could attract anyone, but the writers make the assumption that gay men will want sex from any man, regardless of what he looks or acts like.
Boat Trip is as crass and vulgar as low-brow comedies come. It asks you to play along with the fact that everyone could do and say the dumbest things in order that you might get some good laughs, but they never do arrive. In their place is quite a bit of painfully unfunny forced situations and dialogue that will make you probably zone out from the boredom. I guess you should gather by now that I am not recommending this film to anyone. If you happen to go see another film at a multiplex where this is also showing, just be sure you don't accidentally walk in the wrong door.
©2002 Vince Leo