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The Baltimore Sun

Movie review, 'Boat Trip'

Special to the Tribune

The desultory Cuba Gooding Jr. sex farce "Boat Trip" was shot in Germany and Greece, so technically it does not qualify as one of the worst American-made movies ever. It only feels that way. The movie's offenses are too numerous to catalog. "Boat Trip" features a creepy homophobic context, couched in the absurd comic foibles of two sexually frustrated straight men unwittingly trapped on a caricature of a gay cruise.

Mired in a funk over the breakup of his four-year relationship with the soulless Felicia (Vivica A. Fox), the haplessly agreeable Jerry (Gooding Jr.) joins his best friend, the slovenly Nick (Horatio Sanz), on an exotic vacation that promises sex and adventure. In the first of a series of gay-baiting sequences, a vengeful travel agent, upset that Nick insulted his lover, books them on a cruise line with an exclusively gay clientele.

The movie's sight gags are all predicated on hetero-male homosexual panic - and naturally, the two "heroes," slow to realize their predicament, must continually assert their masculinity. Heterosexual relief turns up when a dozen blonde bombshells, led by Victoria Silvstedt, show up.

Director Mort Nathan and co-writer William Bigelow continually return to the sexual humiliation rite with Lin Shaye, a woman repeatedly used as Nick's sexual foil. Jerry quickly falls for Gabriela (Roselyn Sanchez), a dance instructor and choreographer on the ship. Despite the obvious attraction between the two, Jerry pretends to be gay, allowing the film to forestall the inevitable and perpetrate a slew of homosexual stereotypes.

The movie's view of gay culture is contemptuous. The treatment of women is equally degrading, objectifying them solely as sex objects - including two separate, extended sequences of simulated oral sex. Gooding is an embarrassment. Since "Jerry Maguire," his desire for universal appeal has become increasingly desperate and ingratiating. A self-parodying Roger Moore also turns up, delivering his lines with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

1 star (out of 4) "Boat Trip"
Opens Friday. Running time: 1:33. MPAA rating: R (adult situations, language, partial nudity, sexual situations, drug use).

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