BOAT TRIP (2003)
Cuba Gooding, Jr., Roselyn Sanchez, Vivica A. Fox, Horatio Sanz, Roger Moore
Screenplay by Mort Nathan and William Bigelow
Directed by Mort Nathan
* out of * * * * *
Opening soon in Paris, France
When people talk of an Oscar curse, they might point to Cuba Gooding, Jr's career as proof that it does indeed exist. Since winning the gold as best supporting actor for 1996's Jerry Maguire, the affable African American actor's work has been so unimpressive that the actors he defeated in that Oscar race - William H. Macy, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Edward Norton, and James Woods - should demand a recount and perhaps plot a daring Oceans Eleven like robbery to remove the gold statuette from his mantel.
The latest mediocrity to which Gooding Jr is attached is Boat Trip, a waterlogged comedy that might have sailed smoothly if they had patched up the holes in the script with some genuine laughs.
The plot is right out of a TV sitcom. Jerry (Gooding Jr) and best buddy Nick (Horatio Sanz), depressed about the sorry course their love lives have taken, sign up for a singles cruise, hoping to meet the loves of their lives, or at least partake of some meaningless sex. When booking the cruise, they offend the gay travel agent (Will Farrell) who - get ready for some big laughs - sends them off on an all male GAY cruise! Just imagine the hilarity that could result from that scenario. Unfortunately, you'll have to imagine it because there is nary a chuckle to be had from the stale script, so hoary it might have been salvaged from the garbage pail in which producers tossed story ideas deemed too juvenile for The Love Boat.
Of course, it's obvious that the cruise is populated by gay men, after all, the cruise is populated almost exclusively by males, but it's not obvious to Jerry and Nick because, as in most bad comedies, their ignorance concerning their situation is supposed to be amusing. Instead, it just makes the characters look dumb. Suffice it to say, they catch on eventually, and Jerry, smitten with one of the few females on board, a man hating dance choreographer played by Roselyn Sanchez, takes advantage of her belief that he's gay to get close and woo her.
The acting is strictly adequate, but then adequate is about all Gooding, Jr. has ever been. Charming and likeable, but not noticeably talented, he suggests that Oscar is a curse only to those who win undeservedly. Sanchez is attractive and should appeal to the heterosexual males who would consider seeing a film with a gay theme.
The only bright spot in the cast is former 007 Roger Moore as a homosexual who develops the hots for chubby Nick, who, for all of his homophobic behavior, realizes he's gay in the end. This is nothing but politically correct slop meant to endear the film to gay audiences after the film has spent so much time having fun with them. Most of the homosexuals in the film are swishy stereotypes. That seems to have offended some gay critics, but since drag queens and other gay stereotypes can be found in abundance in gay bars and pride parades, the only thing really offensive about this film is that it fails as a comedy. It isn't funny. Neither is the course of Cuba Gooding, Jr's career.
Brian W. Fairbanks
Originally published at Paris Woman Journal
© 2001 Paris Woman Journal
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