By Brian Rentschler
Short version: This movie was so unspeakably awful that I'm almost tempted to sue Artisan Entertainment for pain and suffering. Every scene is either incredibly offensive, awkwardly unfunny or both. Don't waste your time or money on this unwatchable crapfest.
As a general rule, I try to reserve ratings of 5/5 stars for movies that really hit it out of the park in all aspects. Likewise, I try to reserve ratings of 0/5 stars for movies that have no redeemable qualities to them whatsoever. Most movies are somewhere in between; there's usually something that you can glean from a movie, no matter how bad it was. However, Boat Trip has received the dubious honor of a zero-star rating from me. There is literally nothing worthwhile about this movie. There are no redeemable qualities whatsoever. This movie is a cinematic nature nugget. It's not even enjoyable as a "bad movie night" feature. It's unspeakably awful.
The movie starts out with Jerry Robinson (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.) taking his girlfriend Felicia (played by Vivica A. Fox) on a romantic date and asking her to marry him. Not only does she say no, but she also breaks up with him and leaves him for another man. Six months later, he still misses her and he hasn't moved on with his life. (In other words, Jerry is an idiot.) His friend Nick (played by Horatio Sanz) is trying to get him to do something social, so he takes him to a local club. Not long after they arrive, they come across a happy couple who met on a singles cruise. Being the super-geniuses they are, they get the bright idea to go on a singles cruise to meet women. Through an incredibly ridiculous series of events that I won't go into detail about, they end up taking a cruise, but it's a gay cruise.
Jerry and Nick take a disturbingly long time to realize that they're on a gay cruise, but once Jerry realizes what's going on, he drowns his sorrows in booze. He ends up becoming so drunk that he can't stand up on his own. He ends up falling into the pool and nearly drowns, but he's rescued by a beautiful woman named Gabriella (played by Roselyn Sanchez). As it turns out, Gabriella is the dance instructor on the boat. Jerry and Gabriella quickly become good friends, but before Jerry can bust a move, he realizes he has two problems. First, Gabriella has had a string of bad relationships, so she feels more comfortable being around gay men. Second, she thinks Jerry's gay. (Hmmm... now why would she think that? There are several awkward scenes in the movie to further reinforce her assumption that he's gay.) Of course, rather than tell her the truth and make this movie all of 15 minutes long, Jerry decides to tell Gabriella he's gay so she can feel comfortable being around him. (Isn't that sweet?)
As you might guess, Jerry's lie quickly spirals out of control, and he has to pile even more lies on top of it to make Gabriella think he's gay. To make matters worse, she tells him that she's starting to have feelings for him, but he's already lied to her about being gay. How does he get out of this mess without completely alienating her? At this point, we have a potential love interest for Jerry, but what about poor Nick? Well, there's no need to worry, because the Swedish sun tanning team happens to be stranded at sea, and guess which boat ends up rescuing them? (I only wish I were making this up.) Being the genius that he is, Nick tells the women he's gay, instantly making them feel comfortable around him. He's immediately attracted to Inga (played by Victoria Silvstedt), but Sonya (played by Lin Shaye), the team's coach, stands in the way of true love.
As if the movie isn't bad enough already, it gets even worse. The rest of the movie consists of tasteless and vulgar attempts at humor, mostly centering around gay stereotypes. Jerry keeps up his gay act with Gabriella, eventually appearing in full drag. Nick makes several attempts to meet up with Inga, but what ends up happening instead is downright painful to watch. And to top it all off, Felicia has a change of heart and ends up boarding the boat looking for Jerry. Wanna guess what he looks like when she ends up finding him?
So now Jerry has a choice to make. Should he choose Felicia, who came back to him just like he wanted, or should he choose Gabriella, who is a hottie? And if he chooses Gabriella, how will she react when he tells her he's been lying to her the entire time they've known each other? Regardless of which choice he makes, will lots of ridiculous complications develop to stretch this movie's length another 15 minutes? Seriously, this movie is only 95 minutes long, but it felt like four hours. You may think you can guess the utterly predictable ending, but this movie sinks to levels of stupidity that I didn't think were humanly possible. I have heard that a movie from the 60's called Manos: The Hands of Fate was so bad that it inflicted actual pain and suffering on its viewers. Well, I've never seen Manos, but unfortunately I have seen Boat Trip, and it inflicted pain and suffering on me. I'm almost tempted to sue Artisan Entertainment for having to endure such agony. I only saw this because my cable company offered a free preview of the Showtime channel; I have tremendous pity for anyone who actually paid money to see this cinematic cowpie.
This movie was written by Mort Nathan and William Bigelow, and directed by Mort Nathan. Both have experience in TV; Mort Nathan worked on The Golden Girls and William Bigelow worked on The Commish and Murder She Wrote. I could understand a relative newbie writing and/or directing something this putrid, but these guys are seasoned pros. What were they thinking? Most of the cast does a decent job with the inadequate material they are given, with the ironic exceptions of Gooding and Sanz, the two lead actors. Gooding's career has really hit a downward spiral; Boyz n the Hood and Jerry Maguire are safely in the history books, and with movies like this stinking up his résumé, he'll have a really tough time being taken seriously as an actor. Roselyn Sanchez was the standout in this movie; why isn't she getting better roles than this? Did my eyes deceive me, or was that Roger Moore playing a small role as Lloyd, the British gay guy? (Gotta have all the stereotypes covered, old chap...) And even the biggest Will Ferrell fans will have a hard time explaining his cameo in this movie.
As a general rule, I'm not easily offended, but I must say that most of the humor in this movie was so cruel, tasteless and vulgar that I was personally offended by it. This movie was originally shot in 2001, but didn't hit theaters in the USA until 2003. (If only the studios had tried a little harder to keep it shelved...) I initially thought the point of the movie was supposed to be "gays have feelings too," but it's not. With all the tasteless and offensive gay jokes and stereotypes, how can it be? I really don't think the movie has a point to make. I think it was nothing more than a bunch of poor, misguided souls who collectively thought something was funny when it wasn't, combined with a healthy dose of actors who needed paychecks. The end result is a cinematic train wreck that should be avoided at all costs.