Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Captain Ron (1992)

If you mention the movie Captain Ron to some people, then they may grin and try to tell you that it's a fantastic film. They will be wrong, but they won't realise that. Captain Ron is one of those movies that SEEMS better when some time is passed and you're thinking about all of the different roles that Kurt Russell has played and then your brain goes "oh, don't forget that he was great in Captain Ron". Your brain will be correct to remind you that Russell was/is great in the title role, but that will then lead you to remember the entire movie with a coating of fondness that it doesn't really deserve. It's mildly amusing and it's something I'd watch again if it was on TV during a horrible, rainy afternoon, but it's nothing great.

Martin Short plays Martin Harvey, husband to Katherine Harvey (Mary Kay Place) and father to Benjamin (Benjamin Salisbury) and Caroline (Meadow Sisto). When Martin inherits a yacht he gets very excited and immediately plans a family trip. He wants them all to enjoy themselves and learn a bit about life on the ocean while someone takes charge and helps them bring it back to America to sell it. The person who comes to take charge of the boat for them is Captain Ron (Russell). Ron has one glass eye, an uncanny talent for getting lost and an easygoing, somewhat slapdash, manner that soon starts to get on Martin's nerves. Can the two men survive at sea together for the whole journey? And does Ron actually know what he's doing?

Directed by Thom E. Eberhardt, who also worked on the screenplay with John Dwyer, Captain Ron is easygoing, by-the-numbers, comedy fare. Martin Short plays the highly strung character that he's played many times before, Mary Kay Place is a supportive wife and the Salisbury and Sisto are kids who change during the course of their trip, for better or worse. People fall overboard, some DIY goes horribly wrong, there's an embarrassment that befalls the married couple when they try to have some quality time on their own, etc. etc. etc.

The big plus point in the movie is Russell in the role of the captain. There are times when the character could become annoying and unsympathetic, but Russell plays him with such a laid-back, kindly demeanour that even as he's making mistake after mistake it's hard to think unkindly of him. As Martin Short's character starts to lose his patience with Ron, viewers end up warming to him even more and that warmth stays throughout until a final third in which some danger is added and characters need to show what they're really made of.

Undemanding fun, lifted up to the top of the rigging by Russell.


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