Advance word on this cosmic shipwreck was that it was offensive because it traded in gay stereotypes. Yes, it does, but the movie’s just plain not smart enough to be genuinely offensive. It’s just tired and trite and not very funny and again raises the question: Just exactly who thinks Cuba Gooding Jr. can act? The man is a walking disaster, skating through filmdom on the strength of an agreeable personality and a dubious supporting-actor Oscar.
The agreeable-personality part is starting to wear thin as Gooding trots out the same bag of tricks — mugging and overacting — in movie after movie, and delivering his dialogue with the sense of discovery that suggests he hasn’t read the material until five minutes before the take. God knows, if he read the script to this film and still agreed to do it, he needs his head examined.
By now you probably know the setup — Jerry (Gooding) gets dumped by his girlfriend (Vivica A. Fox) in favor of the hunky guy who details her car, so after six months of sulking, Jerry agrees to go on a cruise with his best friend, Nick (Horatio Sanz). The idea is that there’ll be lots and lots of available women (hubba, hubba) on a cruise ship. And this might have been true had Nick not angered a travel agent, whose boyfriend (a pointless cameo by Will Ferrell) books the pair on an exclusively gay cruise. It takes our brilliant duo nearly a full reel to grasp the fact that they are on a gay cruise — a discovery that results in a lot of screaming and running around. True (heterosexual) love will be found and life lessons will be learned, you may be sure. In fact, you can probably predict every move this movie makes long before it arrives.
Is Boat Trip offensive? Yes, but mostly because it offends your intelligence. It’s a supposedly gay-themed film that’s clearly made for people with an adolescent obsession with boobs (supplied by a Swedish sun-tanning team — a what?) and the egotistical sense that all gay men are hot for them (mostly evidenced by guys who wouldn’t be cruised in Portsmouth on a pay night). Reality-check time. Who really believes that a plethora of body-building gay men are going to ogle Gooding’s butt? And even if you can swallow that (so to speak), does your credulity still hold when the same enthusiasm is applied to Sanz’s posterior? Come on, folks, suspension of disbelief only goes so far.
On the plus side, the film does flirt with the idea that Nick might actually be gay (don’t worry, he isn’t) and starts to set up what looks like a variant on the ending of Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot with Roger Moore (yes, that Roger Moore) waiting in the wings to sweep Nick off his feet. Moore has the movie’s best lines (“I saw in him what I saw in the young Elton John,” he notes as he bemoans the loss of Nick to a busty Swedish tanning model) and seems like the voice of reason in the otherwise dreary ocean of cliches. But there’s a sneaky undercurrent of grafted-on Political Correctness to it all, which becomes painfully obvious when Moore is given a speech about all the “un-gay” things he’s done in his life — proving, you see, that the film realizes that not all gay men are screaming caricatures.
If you want my advice, set sail for your nearest video store and rent The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert instead of wading through this muck.