Not only funny, but
also very well acted. Until the end, which was fairly weak,
everything was extremely well done.
These two guys can act, and they have very good chemistry whenever
they are together. One of the women from Ally McBeal, Whipper, played
the young "chick", and was much better, and very much prettier, here, than
she ever was on the TV show. But the best performance of them all
belonged to Brent Spiner, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He played the cruise director, and was able to convey such an incredible
range of emotions and voices that I very much anticipated every scene with
him in it.
The beginning of the movie seemed not to fit with the rest of
it. But it does show what gambler Charlie is, and how much money
he owes. Which sets up the stage for his money-making scheme: pose
as dance coaches on a Mexican cruise in order to woo some rich women and
get all their money. His widower brother-in-law, Herb, wants nothing
to do with the scheme, but somehow finds himself on the ship. On
the way, Charlie sits in the wrong first-class seats, and then Herb ends
up tripping over the bags of the same woman whose seat they were sitting
in on the plane. Of course Vivian ends up being the love of his life,
the one he thought he would never find again, after his wife died.
Charlie does not know how to dance, but he expects Herb to show
him. That scene is kind of fun, but not as fun, or as funny, as watching
Charlie skip out on the dancing to gamble with the high-class folks.
He finds a good looking woman, who is less than half his age, and tries
to steal her away from the man who is currently accompanying her.
He goes on excursions with her, gambles with her, eats with her, and eventually
sleeps with her. And during the eclipse, while he is trying to propose
to her, she says they should get married.
Meanwhile, Herb is dancing, and is dancing very well. He
and his wife had danced right up until her death, and it shows. Vivian
is suitably impressed, but deduces that he doesn't want to commit to a
relationship. He has to win her back, from a rambling archaeologist.
This guy is a very dry speaker, and it's hilarious to see everybody's reactions
to him. They agree to meet for the eclipse, but just before Herb
leaves, the nurse who took care of his wife in the hospital shows up, and
they have a nostalgic conversation that leads Herb to realize that he's
still in love with, and mourning for, his wife. So Vivian is left
sitting in a café, lonely while the rest of the passengers watch
the eclipse (which was fairly well done, I think).
But the best lines of the show go to Gil, the cruise director.
He is a rude control freak, who grew up on a military base, and expects
everybody to follow his orders and to fear him. He has a British
accent, and a moustache, and for a few minutes, I almost didn't recognize
him. He introduces himself from off-stage, he sings many of the songs,
and makes every attempt to get on the good side of the cruise ship's owner,
who is just about ready to promote him.
Except, of course, that he can't keep Charlie in line.
He sees Charlie on an excursion, and ends up riding a bull while wearing
a flaming hat. He watches in horror as Charlie dances with the woman
who is to promote him, dragging her along the dance floor in a truly hideous
version of the dance they are supposed to be doing. To get Gil out
of the way, Charlie sets him up for a night of passion at the hands of
his boss, an offer he can't refuse, if he wants the promotion. Or
so he thinks.
Gil sees Charlie about to go off to get married, and reveals
to his fiancée that he is only a lowly dance host, and she dumps
him on the spot. Because, in a terrifically realized scene that took
me completely by surprise, she reveals that she is flat broke, and spent
her last dime on this cruise, hoping to attract the attention and affections
of a millionaire.
Charlie and Herb decide to take a lifeboat to go and catch their
women, who have left the ship, and have become stranded in a four person
airplane with a crazy Mexican pilot! Because of a lame story Herb
told Vivian earlier in the movie, she sees the flare he sends up, and knows
that he's come for her. She has the plane turn around and land again.
Charlie and Liz realize that each of them is broke, but they
love each other anyway, and Herb and Vivian both have pretty-good incomes,
and have loved each other from the start. They all fly off, and presumably
live happily ever after.
The couples were well-chosen, because both of them had real chemistry,
even if Charlie was so much Liz's senior. It made for a very entertaining
time, because there was never a moment when anybody seemed even remotely
fake. This despite the fact that every one of them (except perhaps
Vivian) was hiding something, and really were fake.
It sounded to me like Brent Spiner actually sang the songs, and
he did a great job. It is impossible to describe the antics that
he plays, but he does them so well that I have to at least mention them!
His voices and faces, and the way he carried himself, were so well done,
that his mere presence caused me to laugh. He never gets the promotion,
because he threatens Charlie and Herb, in the lifeboat, that when the "old
hag" gives him the promotion, he will make sure that they never work another
cruise line ever. But, of course, she is standing right behind him.
The comedy was well-developed through the entire movie, so that
there were no slow spots, and the laughs were nearly constant. But
beyond that, the lead actors were so terrific, namely Lemmon, Matthau and
Spiner, that it was a joy to watch them, even if the comedy had not been
as good as it was.