Out to Sea

Reviewed by Dan Lybarger

June 25, 1997


Out to Sea is not a great movie. In fact, it's probably not even a good one, but the enduring chemistry of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau keeps it afloat. The two rehash the same sorts of roles and situations they always play, but they somehow manage to make it look fresh.

This time around Matthau plays Charlie, an incorrigible gambler and would-be con artist. Out to woo a woman wealthy enough to dig him out of debt and to stop his widowed brother-in-law Herb (Lemmon) from moping, Charlie invites Herb to join him on a cruise to Mexico. When they arrive on the ship, Charlie informs Herb that he has signed both of them up as dancing escorts. Charlie can't dance, and Herb wants to go back home, but that doesn't stop the former from trying to impress a Texas divorcee (Dyan Cannon, whose accent comes and goes) or Herb from getting to know a someone else who's lost a spouse (Gloria De Haven).

No, there isn't anything that hasn't been done before. The jokes are about as far from cerebral as you can get (there are several mild references to body functions). There are also a couple of needless ethnic stereotypes.

Despite these and numerous other deficiencies, Out to Sea can still be pretty funny. Lemmon and Matthau can deliver flat jokes and make them seem hysterical merely by their timing and their delivery. Matthau is in especially good form here. The scenes where Lemmon attempts to teach him to dance are quite a hoot because Matthau appears as rubber-limbed as Gumby. Some actors a third his age lack that sort of flexibility.

The two do get some worthy support. Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation) is terrific as the ship's arrogant, tyrannical entertainment director. Half of the fun of watching this movie is the experience of seeing him justly humiliated. As sort of an added bonus, Donald O'Connor (Singing in the Rain) gets to play one of the escorts and even dances a couple of impressive solos.

As with the Grumpy Old Men movies, some of the best footage winds up in the outtakes that appear as the credits roll. Out to Sea is probably not the best thing anybody here has done, but when you consider that O'Connor is well known for playing opposite a talking mule, it's far from the worst (PG-13) Rating: 6.



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This page was last updated on 10/28/97.
Ó 1997 Dan Lybarger



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