Starring:Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh

Director: Richard Curtis

Writers: Richard Curtis

Cinematography: Danny Cohen

Original Music: Various

Running Time:135 Mins.


If films won awards for pure likeability and a great sense of fun, The Boat That Rocked would surely be up there with last year’s Mamma Mia for top prize.

Sharing the same care free attitude and light all round humour as last years smash sing-along is no bad thing and presents audiences with the perfect Friday night fare for, nearly, the whole family. Though it also shares many of that film’s weaknesses, a severe lack of character development, a slightly overlong running time and nothing that will revolutionize cinema in terms of direction, script, acting, or, well, anything to be honest!

This is Richard Curtis second directorial effort and though it’s slightly better than his last visually, especially in the denouement echoing Titanic, you can’t help but wonder if he should stick to scripts and let someone with a little more visual flair handle the action. With saying this there is plenty of flair offered by his cast which is brimming at the seams with some of the best character actors today, high points come from the ever reliable Hoffman, Nighy and a surprisingly retrained Ifans. But the stand out has to be Rhys Darby who imbues the boats crew with some real heart as well as the biggest laughs.

On the downside Curtis’s determination that every character gets his time to shine means that no one gets a proper story arc, with characters coming and going  for half an hour at a time, Hoffman’s ‘Count’ for example seems to be there only for a shallow rivalry with Ifans, amusing enough but far from substantial, especially when other sub plots are either more funny or more interesting.  These are minor quibbles though and the biggest mis step is the use of Branangh as a politician villain of the piece and his side-kick named Twatt (Jack Davenport), yes that’s right, the laziest joke of the year goes to…Richard Curtis.

To pick too much would be to do The Boat That Rocked a disservice, for it never really reaches any higher that it attempts and there really is nothing wrong with a film you can turn your brain off and enjoy, especially when it has some of cinmeas best talent messing about on a boat together, and I’m thankful to say it doesn’t get bogged down with romance, or not a stereotypical romance at least, though there is argument here that this could well be abou the love between men, “guy love” as Scrubs would say. And there isn’t anything wrong with a bit of male bonding in films, and not of the ‘Brokeback’ kind I might add! 


Curtis has sold himslef to short with everyone’s story arc meaning you can’t help but think given a serious editing. both in the cutting room and at the drawing board,that  The Boat That Rocked could well have been one of the greatest comedies in recent years. As it is it has to settle for the fun but flawed category.