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Out to Sea

(This review originally appeared in the July 3-9, 1997 Long Island Voice.)

Reviewed by Beth Hannan Rimmels

matthau-lemmon_S.jpg (14500 bytes)Snide critics will refer to Out To Sea as "Grumpy Old Men on the Ocean." That’s just being glib and obnoxious because despite the fact that many of them panned Grumpy, it made a lot of money because it was funny. Which is why they’ll really hate Out To Sea: It’s also funny.

Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon team up for the seventh time on screen (eighth if you count JFK, which they both appeared in but had no scenes together) in this pleasant comedy. It’s not quite as funny as Grumpy but it’s also not as mean spirited.

Matthau plays Charlie, a gambler at the end of his financial rope who cons his brother-in-law Herb (Lemmon) into taking a cruise with him. Unbeknownst to Herb, Charlie has signed them up as dance hosts so he can meet a wealthy woman and solve his problems. Herb isn’t happy with the plan, but is trapped when he finds out he’ll have to pay for the expensive cruise if he doesn’t dance.

spiner-dancers_S.jpg (14064 bytes)Trying to prevent fraternization is the impossible-to-please ship’s cruise director, Gil Godwyn, a song-and-dance man raised on a military base. Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Independence Day), who’s been trying to trying to avoid the typecasting that has plagued many Star Trek actors, is very funny as the prissy, pretentious, ambitious, dancing slave driver. If Spiner keeps up roles like this, regardless of how the films do, his typecasting problems will be solved.

lemmon-cannon-matthau_S.jpg (11742 bytes)My favorite part of the movie might turn off teens and twentysomethings — the mostly 50+ cast. Listen, funny is funny, and these actors are be very funny. The cast includes Hal Linden and Donald O’Connor as dance hosts, Rue McClanahan as the ship’s owner, Dyan Cannon as the object of Charlie’s lustful and mercenary affections, Elaine Stritch as her mother, Edward Mulhare as Charlie’s competitor for Cannon, and Gloria DeHaven as a widow who catches Herb’s eye. Stritch is at her acerbic best. O’Connor still makes me want to dance. Cannon has a figure I would kill for despite being less than half her age, and DeHaven is so good, it’s a crime that these older actors have been largely put out to pasture. The audience I saw it with had a lot of young people and they laughed as hard as I did. Funny knows no age limits.

I wouldn’t make it the number one or two movie on your must-see list, but if you’re in the mood for a safe comedy, catch it. You won’t be disappointed. Better yet, take your parents. They’ll love it, you’ll enjoy it and earn some brownie points.

Directed by Martha Coolidge. A Twentieth-Century Fox release.

1997 Long Island Voice. Accompanying stills 1997 20th-Century Fox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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