Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Boat Trip (The Unrated Version) (2003)
Gabriella: Oh, it feels so good to get off my feet!
Jerry: I couldn't agree with you more.
Gabriella: You know what, I've got to get out of these clothes.
Jerry: I couldn't agree with you more.
- Roselyn Sanchez, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Horatio Sanz, Vivica A. Fox, Roselyn Sanchez
Other Stars: Roger Moore, Maurice Godin, Lin Shaye, Victoria Silvstedt, Richard Roundtree, Bob Gunton, Artie Lange, Will Ferrell
Director: Mort Nathan
Manufacturer: Ascent DVD Media
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, strong language, offensive stereotypes, gross humor, sexual content)
Run Time: 01h:36m:51s
Release Date: 2003-09-30
DVD ReviewOne night a few years back, a screenwriter friend of mine and I were discussing why good actors wind up in bad movies. Having some insider access through his gig, he told me that often times, such decisions are "favors": if an actor does this potentially inferior piece, they'll be given the green light to do their pet project or a much coveted role or prestigious part.
Well, if that's the case, we should be expecting a multitude of consecutive classics from Cuba Gooding Jr. in the next few years. After being blessed by having one of the best starts in the business (Boyz N' the Hood , as well as early roles with the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, and Jack Nicholson) and winning an Oscar® before he reached the age of 30 for his "showy" turn in Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire, there have been a few bunt singles like Men of Honor, Rat Race and dare, I say it, Pearl Harbor (Gooding remains the best thing about that film, to me). But to follow those up with Raspberry Award shoo-ins such as Chill Factor and Snow Dogs? Talk about chillin' your street cred big time.
Alas, this re-occurring bad luck streak (or some would say, another chapter in ongoing career suicide) rears its ugly head in Boat Trip, an early 2003 release now making its way to disc courtesy of Artisan. No doubt, the cinema savvy among you out there heard plenty about this travelogue upon its release. Yep, it is very stereotypical on many fronts, especially in its cheesy depiction of the gay community that plays out like an unwelcome throwback to the 1970s. But we'll get to that and other troubling aspects of the subject matter in a bit.
Gooding portrays Jerry, a happy-go-lucky guy about to pop the big question to longtime girlfriend Felicia (Vivica A. Fox). During a romantic balloon ride, our would-be groom experiences a double whammy: fear of heights combined with the stress of the moment, which causes an unfortunate South Park-ish moment as he barfs all over her classy threads. But she'll get over it with her new boy toy she's been digging on behind Jerry's back. In other words, this couple is kaput as Felicia disappears from our story for the next 79 minutes (which should allow sufficient time to fire Fox's agent and sign with a new handler by the time she re-enters the picture).
Six months later, Jerry's still moping about what could have been and pal Nick (Horatio Sanz) has had enough. It's time to go on a singles' cruise, baby, that's where all the hot women are (does this guy have a friend named Larry at the Reagle Beagle?) In short order, our swinging bachelors are floatin' on the ocean along with other eligible males. Lots of eligible males. Lots of scantily clad eligible males (I thought peek-a-boo chaps went out with David Lee Roth in the Eighties...).
Attempted wackiness ensues as our two hopelessly heterosexual tourists are beside themselves, especially after being hit upon by the likes of Lloyd (Roger Moore), a rather forward English gent who looks like he'd prefer his mojo shaken and stirred (sorry, it was too easy). Attempting to lose himself in a few drinks after a frightening afternoon, Jerry stumbles by the ship's swimming pool and knocks himself unconscious. Coming to his rescue? Resident mouth-to-mouth specialist Gabriella (Roselyn Sanchez), the ship's dance instructor who eventually takes a liking to Jer, especially after too many dalliances with single-minded guys (oh, the horror); turns out her secret fantasy is to get intimate with a kindred male soul who isn't straight.
Can you say, "schwing?" Jerry can; he's off to one of the ship's entertainers (Maurice Godin) for pointers in Stereotypical Gay 101 (learning the words to I Will Survive, etc.; hey, don't forget the Peter Allen records). Meanwhile, things are looking up for Nick thanks to the last minute addition female passengers as a stranded "Swedish Suntanning Team" emerges from a lifeboat to seek refuge in non-threatening circumstances. Wouldn't you know, one of the squad starts developing a liking to Nick, but he'll have to get by the unit's dour mother hen Sonya (Lin Shaye, the gamest comic actress since Margaret Dumont did battle with The Marx Brothers).
So, you're asking, does Boat Trip sink or swim? Well, to be honest, it's not the worst movie I've ever seen. Gooding is quite adept at doing slapstick humor and there are a couple of moments when he rises above the material to provide a good laugh or two; Sanchez proves charmingly sexy despite being saddled with a role that's beneath her; Shaye continues to hold the title of queen scene stealer in the same fashion as her previous work in Kingpin and There's Something About Mary in a bit involving an aluminum Louisville Slugger that we just can't talk about here. But there are too many other factors that defeat the purpose of this picture. Okay, we all know about the negative stereotyping of the gay community and degradation of women everyone hollered about, but even more icky than those aspects are the roles of Gooding and Sanz. I know they're still a few years away from middle age, but aren't these cats slightly long in the youth tooth to be in the midst of such immature hijinx? Also, this plot is about as old as a Love Boat re-run; Captain Stubing would have thrown these suckers overboard before Jack Jones finished warbling the theme song. Finally, the predictability of the storyline got to such a point by mid-length that it actually became an endurance test to make it through to the credits. What's worse is that time seemed to slow down to Winds of War speed in order to reach port.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: A "Jekyll and Hyde" transfer if there ever was one. For some peculiar reason, exterior scenes seemed rather subdued and a touch dark, but the shipboard action looked fantastic with its colorfully garish sets. Detail and sharpness are strained at times, but the consistency of the colors and relatively mild edge enhancement add up to more check marks in the positives column (and for an Artisan product, that's saying a lot).
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Thanks to its heavy emphasis on music, both soundtracks are very bright, punchy efforts that utilize all speakers to great advantage, although the 5.1 was a bit too heavy on the subwoofin' side. Still, that track is preferable due to its all-enveloping presence, which more effectively showcases the festive atmospherics during the party scenes with the occasional isolated directional effects that pop in here and there.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Punisher, Havana Nights, T2: Extreme Edition, The Fourth Angel, Guilty by Association, Loco Love
Layers Switch: 01h:03m:32s
- Live Action Menus
- Outrageous Trivia Track
- Tanning Tips Featurette
The only somewhat appealing extra is the 15-minute Making of Boat Trip and even that is marred by an incredibly stupid concept that involves a geeky feature reporter attempting to interview Cuba Gooding Jr. during the midst of a boxing workout (if only I'd been around with my trusty Everlast gloves, I wanna tell ya). Unintentionally funny at times, I got a strange kick out of the participants trying to put a significant, thumbs-up spin on the film (although it does look like everyone had a genuinely good time on the shoot). Although only seen fleetingly, director Mort Nathan had an off-the-cuff comment involving a particular set prop that's ten times funnier than any bit of dialogue in the film; there's still hope for this guy.
Unfortunately with the other inclusions, it's pretty much downhill, especially the unbelievably lame 5-minute Tanning Tips, which gathers five of Playboy's finest for an insightful primer on how to avoid the dangers of those pesky ultraviolet rays next time you take to the sand in your Speedos and string bikinis. Man, where's the cast of Saved By the Bell when you need 'em? But there are a couple of priceless closeups combined with inane dialogue you must see and hear to believe (but some of you guys out there won't hear anything, if you know what I mean).
Quality is an endangered species on the remaining bonuses. An Outrageous Trivia Track that looks like it was scripted with assistance from a pop culture edition of Trivia Pursuit with practically next to nothing about the making of the film (the research team probably blocked it out of their minds) and a collection of "seen it all before" bloopers and justifiably snipped scenes made all the more annoying by the lack of a Play All option (particularly in cases of a deleted sequence that totals no more than few seconds).
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsDespite come-hither menus and a decent transfer, a smattering of forgettable extras does not improve Boat Trip: The Unrated Version.
Jeff Rosado 2003-10-23