[Screen It]

(2003) (Cuba Gooding, Jr., Horatio Sanz) (R)

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Comedy: Two straight men inadvertently end up on a gay cruise where they have to act gay to try to get in with the few straight women onboard.
It's been six months since Felicia (VIVICA A. FOX) dumped Jerry (CUBA GOODING, JR.) and he still hasn't gotten over her. Thus, Jerry's friend, Nick (HORATIO SANZ), convinces him to come along on a singles cruise where they'll meet attractive, young women.

A contentious meeting with a travel agent, however, results in the two men unknowingly being booked on a gay cruise. They don't realize this until they're well out to see and a predatory gay man, Lloyd (ROGER MOORE), informs them of such.

Things look up for the two, however, when they meet the few straight women onboard. Nick is instantly smitten with Inga (VICTORIA SILVESTDT) of the Swedish sun tanning team, but must contend with her fiercely protective but also amorous coach, Sonja (LIN SHAYE).

Jerry, on the other hand, has fallen hard for Gabriella (ROSELYN SANCHEZ), the ship's dance instructor. The only problem is that she thinks he's gay. When he realizes that might actually turn out to be to his advantage since she's tired of straight men always hitting on her, Jerry enlists the aid of Hector (MAURICE GODIN) to teach him the finer points of acting gay.

From that point on, and with Felicia also ending up onboard, it's only a matter of time before Jerry and Nick will have to come out of the closet and admit that they're not really gay.

OUR TAKE: 0 out of 10
There's something unique about the mind of the average young adolescent male and his particular sense of humor. Still somewhat childlike but influenced and/or tainted by more adult thoughts but without mature restraint, common sense or taste, the mindset seems to enjoy a certain type of low-brow, sexually charged and definitely juvenile humor.

Although they're too young to see it, that particular audience segment would seem to be the ones who might enjoy the latest such comedy, "Boat Trip." That's not only because it contains the requisite sort of tasteless and sophomoric humor, but also because it appears that the filmmakers involved - writer/director Mort Nathan (making his directorial debut) and co-screenwriter William Bigelow (making his feature debut) - must be 13-year-olds themselves.

Either that or they haven't forgotten their inner adolescent selves. Normally, I'd say that that isn't necessarily a bad thing if the results are funny. Unfortunately, that's not the case here. The film is also highly offensive to gays, women and most anyone at or above the age of thirteen.

Having already seen the previews showing Cuba Gooding, Jr. ("Snow Dogs," "Rat Race") and Horatio Sanz ("Tomcats," "Road Trip") posing as gay men on a gay cruise to score with the few heterosexual women onboard (all of whom, natch, are knockout babes), I knew the film was going to be bad. I just didn't know or imagine to what extreme.

After a forced opening credits sequence (with Gooding dancing and prancing about) and a vomit into the would-be fiancée's cleavage moment, it all too quickly becomes readily apparent. Despite what initially looked like might be an homage or spoof of sorts of "Swingers" (since both involve an outgoing man trying to get his friend over his ex-girlfriend), the film quickly segues and then sets sail on a boat trip into the cinematic sea of Hades.

Unless you're fond of or eagerly anticipating every offensive and stereotypical portrayal of gays known to man, overly buxom women dressed in next to nothing, and/or otherwise horrendous filmmaking at its worst, this will be about as tortuous a 95-some minutes you could imagine spending in a darkened theater or in front of the "boob tube" which is where this mess will quickly end up.

Although I knew it wasn't likely, the film could have used the straight men on a gay cruise setup to examine any number of social concerns, albeit while disguised as a comedy, much like "Tootsie" did in exploring the differences between men and women. Alas, the film does not have the conviction to do that, but instead uses the setup as a means of delivering cheap pot shots at most everyone involved.

To make matters worse, the film then tries to make amends by saying that gays aren't so bad (and are human too) and even briefly toys with the notion that one of the main characters is gay. Anyone with a grain of common sense will not only see that coming from a mile away, but will also realize that the film won't have the guts to stick with that development. Instead, it quickly backpedals away from that.

Notwithstanding the offensive material, the film and its comedic attempts simply aren't funny. If there's anything worse than lame or failed attempts at humor, it's seeing or predicting them long before they arrive. That's certainly the case here where everything is telegraphed to such a degree that the film might as well have "Western Union" tagged on it.

To make matters worse (if that's possible), the effort hemorrhages in the third act when the plot and setting quickly switch gears and locales. It's probably the worst such jump I've ever seen and is likely to make viewers think some footage is missing or that the projectionist forgot to load that part of the film. It then limps to the foregone conclusion - despite the hectic and scattershot pacing - by which time only masochists and film critics will still be watching, albeit in a slack-jawed fashion.

If you're one of them, you'll like notice a constantly whirling or swooshing noise. That would be the sound of the rest of Gooding's career going down the toilet. Considering that Sanz brings the "Saturday Night Live" curse with him, I wasn't expecting much from him, but Gooding once won an Oscar. If this trend of awful movie roles continues, he's going to have to melt that puppy down to support himself.

Vivica A. Fox ("Juwanna Mann," "Two Can Play That Game") is wasted as the mean girlfriend who returns in the third act only because the script tells her to, while Roselyn Sanchez ("Rush Hour 2," "Held Up") does her best impression of Sandra Bullock playing the same sort of character that more prominent actress has done countless times before.

Model-turned actress Victoria Silvestdt ("Out Cold," various videos and TV shows) is present only for her assets (and you know what I'm talking about), while Lin Shaye ("Say It Isn't So," "There's Something About Mary"), Maurice Godin ("Double Take," "Salt Water Moose") and especially Roger Moore (yes, 007 himself) do nothing but embarrass themselves in their awfully written, staged and portrayed roles.

Normally, the sight of buxom and scantily clad women might earn at least one point for the simple eye candy factor. The rest of this film's material, however, is so insipid, offensive and just plain bad that it negates even that. If there was ever a cinematic vessel that deserved hitting an iceberg and sinking before it hit theaters and subjected viewers to one of the worst comedies in years, if not decades, this is it. Whatever you do, don't take this "Boat Trip." It rates as a 0 out of 10.

Reviewed February 24, 2003 / Posted March 21, 2003

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