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.