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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Out to Sea (review)

Cruise to Heck

Not a cruise to hell by any means. Out to Sea (starring Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and Dyan Cannon) is a fine, fun little piece of fluff. But the only reason I cared to see this movie is because one of my favorite people — Brent Spiner — appears in it.
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon reprise their usual grumpy-old-man shtick as two buddies working as dance hosts on a Caribbean cruise — they have to dance with all the rich, lonely ladies traveling on their own. Naturally, they each find a lonely lady to fall in love with, and all ends happily — but not without a few sitcomish bumps along the way.

The humor, for the most part, is not really to my taste. When it isn’t fart jokes — or old-fart jokes — it’s mostly the stuff of bad standup: Have you flown economy lately? Oy, don’t get me started! There are a few bad Vegas-style reviews thrown in, but at least you’re not stuck on the boat with all the characters with nothing else to do but endure them.

It’s nice to see a film with older folks romancing — usually it’s only us youngsters who get to play at that on the screen — but it all kinda reminded me of a Sustecal ad: “You’re over 50 and you’re having fun!”

For me, though, it was worth sitting through the cotton candy to see Brent Spiner do his thing as Gil, Matthau and Lemmon’s boss and the cruise director from hell. Julie Your Cruise Director he is not. In his own words: “I’m your worst nightmare — a song-and-dance man raised on a military base.” He is hilarious and provides the only (mildly) biting humor — much more my style. He even gets to sing a few silly renditions of Vegas tunes.

Nice, gentle movie. I bet my parents would love it. I myself need a little more edge.

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viewed at home on a small screen

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