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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cabin Boy
Cabin Boy
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // September 3, 2002
List Price: $9.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted September 9, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

"Cabin Boy" is a movie that would never get made today and it's a mystery how it actually got made when it was originally released. A deeply silly, stupid, strange (the film is co-produced by director Tim Burton) and occasionally even funny picture, the film (which grossed 3.6m in release) was destined to become a cult video hit before it even reached theaters.

The film stars Chris Elliot (popular at the time for the "Get a Life" series on Fox, where he played a 30-year-old paperboy) as Nathanial Mayweather, a severely spoiled and irritating rich lad just out of prep school. When he's dumped by the limo after insulting the driver, he stumbles onto a ship called the Filthy Whore instead of the ship that's supposed to take him to his father's Hawaiian hotel.

When it becomes painfully obvious that he's hopped aboard the wrong boat, he further infuriates his fellow shipmates by steering the ship into "Hell's Bucket". As punishment, they leave him on a raft tied to the boat with two miles of rope for an entire week, with the hot sun boiling him. Visiting him during his stay: a giant cupcake that spits tobacco and a half-man/half-shark guy who manages to save him from being taken out by the heat. It's just that kind of movie.

The performances are halfway decent - certainly, this is Elliot's show and if viewers have ever seen him in anything else (especially the earlier efforts, such as "Get a Life"), they know what to expect. The fishermen offer occasional laughs, but otherwise don't do much. Neither does Melora Walters, who plays a swimmer that Nathaniel plucks out of the water just as she's attempting to break a world record.

More impressive than anything else are the film's production design and the occasional visual effect - such as one funky effect that brings an iceberg to life. Overall, "Cabin Boy" does manage to deliver enough clever lines and silly fantasy sequences that I still find it largely funny, although it's probably not going to strike everyone as amusing.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Cabin Boy" is presented with a new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that's actually considerably better than I'd expected from the title. Sharpness and detail are fairly solid throughout, even during several smoky/foggy sequences that are handled quite well by the presentation.

Maybe it's due to the film's lack of theatrical play, but it seems to have been quite well-preserved in comparison to some of the studio's other recent catalog releases. The print used is actually in very good condition, with little in the way of scratches or marks. Even more pleasant is the fact that there's nothing in the way of edge enhancement and only a few little traces of pixelation. The film's warm, saturated color palette looked rich and well-rendered, with no smearing or other faults. A really nice effort.

SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby 2.0. Aside from a few sequences of rain and wind, this is clearly a dialogue-driven comedy with little else going on.

MENUS: Basic, bland main menu that simply re-uses the cover art.

EXTRAS: Unfortunately for fans, no extras are offered.

Final Thoughts: "Cabin Boy" is so strange and silly at times that it manages to be amusing, but it's odd, fantasy-driven humor won't likely go over well with all audiences. Touchstone's DVD offers unexpectedly good picture quality, along with fine audio - but no supplements. Still, with the DVD's price tag at $9.99 or less, most of the film's fans will be pleased.

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