"Love the Boat" sinks early (and deeply) due to a lethal combo of undernourished screenplay and witless helming.

The one thing the latest femme-driven comedy from distaff helmer Pascale Pouzadoux doesn’t need, is a bigger boat. But many other things in this French cruiseliner farce are sorely lacking. “Love the Boat” sinks early (and deeply) due to a lethal combo of undernourished screenplay and witless helming, both operating on the mistaken assumption that some ideas — such as a cross-dressing, cuckolded stowaway — are inherently funny and therefore above development or mise-en-scene. Beyond France, where femme auds ensured a decent late-April opening, this vessel won’t get much luvin’.

Four cliched women (and one man pretending to be one) travel independently on a Mediterranean cruise ship: a dog-loving widow (Line Renaud); a high-strung Parisian executive (Marilou Berry); an earthy farmer’s wife (Charlotte De Turckheim) who’s accidentally displaced her husband; a bikini-wearing pickpocket (Nora Arnezeder) and a “woman” (Antoine Dulery, Pouzadoux’s partner) who’s illegally onboard. Mistaken identities, ill-choreographed pratfalls, a talent show and even divine intervention bring the ladies together in mostly unfunny ways. Bright tech package nails the tourism-brochure look; theme song of “The Love Boat” on the soundtrack hints at the level of the pic’s overall originality.

Love the Boat

France

Production

A Mars Distribution release of a Fidelite production, in association with TF1 Films, Mars Films, Wild Bunch. (International sales: Elle Driver, Paris.) Produced by Marc Missonnier, Olivier Delbosc. Directed by Pascale Pouzadoux. Screenplay, Pouzadoux, Jeanne Le Guillou.

Crew

Camera (color), Pascal Ridao; editor, Scott Stevenson; music, Eric Neveux; production designer, Philippe Chiffre; costume designer, Charlotte Betaillole. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite, Paris, April 29, 2011. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Charlotte De Turckheim, Antoine Dulery, Line Renaud, Marilou Berry, Nora Arnezeder, Jean Benguigui, Armelle, Stephane Debac, Audrey Lamy, Alex Lutz. (French, English dialogue)

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