Comfortable and Furious

Boat Trip (2002)

Directed by Mort Nathan

Written by Nathan and William Bigelow

Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Horatio Sanz and whatsername

Matt was less slightly nauseated than expected...

Okay, okay, I spent a perfectly good Monday afternoon watching Boat Trip. Hell, I even paid full price. And while I expected to be offended, appalled, and driven to despair by the film, I did not expect that I would laugh out loud. Twice. Perhaps that is not nearly enough laughter for those who made the film, but it is twice as many guffaws that I expected to release. Therefore, even though I hated this film and will have little difficulty placing it on my short list of the worst films of 2003, I cannot say that my 95 minutes in the dark were a complete waste of time.

Cuba Gooding Jr. (please, oh please hand back your Oscar) and Horatio Sanz star as two friends, Jerry and Nick, who are unlucky in love and decide to take a cruise in the hopes of having sex with willing and available women. Of course, Nick angers the travel agent, who then books the pair on a gay cruise, setting up all kinds of comic possibilities that never transpire. It takes the two dim bulbs several hours to fully realize that they are indeed on a gay cruise, even though they see no women and dozens of half-naked men with butt cheeks exposed. By the time they realize their plight, the ship has sailed out to sea, not returning to port for four full days.

Jerry meets one of the few women on board (Roselyn Sanchez, as a dance instructor) and within minutes, he falls in love. He then spends the next few days trying to convince the woman that it would be perfectly acceptable for her to have sex with a gay man. She seems more than receptive to such an idea, and becomes increasingly depressed as she realizes she is falling in love with what she believes is a homosexual. Their relationship is supposed to be “deep” and “meaningful” (after all, it is assumed that only a gay man will be absolutely honest with a woman, which may be true, but who cares), but they never talk about anything other than how she wants to get fucked and how he might be lucky enough to take her to bed.

The two even exchange “blow-job tips” whereby she inhales a banana while he becomes aroused to the point where he runs to a nearby porthole and ejaculates on Roger Moore (don’t ask, but I did laugh at this scene during the few moments when my brain was turned off). And before you ask, yes, that Roger Moore. He plays a flaming queen who desperately wants to have sex with Nick. We even get to hear the former James Bond announce, “I am one bad-ass motherfucker.” Oh Roger, we hardly knew ye.

As I cut to the chase, let me add that Jerry’s former girlfriend comes aboard and watches in horror as Jerry prances around in an all-gay musical, performed in the ship’s lounge. Nick gets drunk and, after waking up next to a man, assumes they have had sex. Nick then reveals that yep, he too is gay and might as well face up to it. This revelation lasts all of ten minutes as the man in question tells Nick that they did not have sex, so Nick assumes his rigid heterosexual stance once again. But Nick has also fallen in love. He lusts after a member of the Swedish bikini team (shockingly named Inga), who came aboard after Nick shot down the team’s helicopter with a flare gun (don’t ask).

He is unable to consummate his desires, however, because the mannish coach of the team doesn’t want her girls to be messing around. Of course, there is a room mix-up (isn’t there always?) and in the dark, Nick cuddles up to the coach, thinking it is Inga. Within minutes, the two are flailing about the room and Nick unintentionally eats her pussy and brings her to orgasm. Would that I had the imagination to make these things up.

Jerry almost marries his former girlfriend, there is a last-minute disruption of the wedding, and Jerry is reunited his true love, the dance instructor. Nick even treks to Sweden to find Inga, only to meet up with her sister, an equally big-chested whore with nothing but sex on her lips. But what about the real issue here – that Boat Trip is offensive to gays? Apparently, gays are objecting to their portrayal as preening, sex-obsessed, overly emotional, well-dressed queens. At this hour, I am still waiting for the unfair stereotype. The true victims in all this, if there is to be a victim, are women. If one is to believe this movie (and there are plenty of people out there who take philosophical cues from juvenile comedies, but more on that later), women are nothing more than bitchy, shrewish, brainless tramps with little to offer but oral sex and big tits.

This may pass in LA, but I point this out not to conduct a pro-feminist argument, but rather to demonstrate how silly identity politics has become. One group is offended and feels dehumanized, while simultaneously ignoring (thereby excusing) the possibility that another group is being depicted in even worse a fashion. When groups start scrutinizing forgettable garbage like Boat Trip for their social relevance, we must understand how far these groups are removed from reality.

Perhaps these groups do not represent even a small fraction of the gay community, but to have such people as the public voice for your cause is to do far more damage than a thousand overt gay bashings. To hold up Boat Trip as an example of what is wrong with our culture is no different than Jesse Jackson’s idiocy involving allegedly “offensive” remarks in Barbershop. No sane person takes these films seriously and if they do, they are certainly not in a position to do much damage. After all, what are the odds that a top CEO or member of the federal government takes his cues from Boat Trip? Or any movie at all, for that matter? Teenagers and West Virginia trailer trash are not, at least from where I’m sitting, threatening to take over the kingdom.

The audience made the experience complete, however. Two young men behind me laughed like frothing hyenas, stomping their feet, repeating lines, and even clapping on occasion. And this before the opening credits! These two boys reacted as if at a football game, cheering with an enthusiasm usually reserved for religious tent revivals. I shook my head many times, wondering what these people do when they are not being so completely entertained by lowest common denominator trash. What are they like in conversation? What wouldn’t make them laugh?

And then, in an even more bizarre chain of events, two older folks walked in with about fifteen minutes remaining. They came in loaded down with giant bags of popcorn and massive sodas. Figuring they would realize their mistake within seconds, I paid them little mind after that. Then, as the film wrapped up and I stretched my weary bones, I noticed that they were still in the theater. What’s more, they were smiling with delight. They picked up their belongings, put on their coats, and dutifully walked out of the theater, presumably off into the cold wilderness, as they must have been escaped loons from the Alzheimer’s hospital. I guess at that age and level of brain disease, fifteen minutes of a movie – any movie – is all they need. Much more than that, they figure, and they’d either be asleep or taking their first of several dozen bathroom breaks. Fuck the old.

Special Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times Roger Moore gets semen in his eye: 1
  • Number of times I ever thought I would write those words: 0
  • Number of times Horatio Sanz is visibly aroused: 1
  • Number of times I will be able to get aroused in the future after witnessing such a sight: 0
  • Number of times I will, when I’m being honest with myself: 2
  • Number of times an editor couldn’t resist inserting the phrase ‘Horatio Sanz Talent’ into the review: 1
  • Number of times I thought that Cuba Gooding was too convincing as a gay man: 9
  • Number of times I thought that Inga was barely convincing as a sentient being: 16
  • Number of catfights between competing bikini teams: 1
  • Number of times I will rent the DVD to pause this scene: 11