Captain Ron

Year 1992

Kurt Russell as  Captain Ron Rico
Martin Short as Martin Harvey
Mary Kay Place   as Katherine Harvey
Meadow Sisto as Caroline Harvey
Director - Thom E. Eberhardt  
Screenwriter - John Dwyer

You've probably heard about Captain Ron and it probably was that the movie wasn't very good. Captain Ron is a story about a family from Chicago who inherits a boat that's in the Caribbean, at the island of Saint Pomme de Terre. (Translation: Saint Potato) They plan to sell it in Miami, so they decide to sail it there. Since they don't sail, they hire a captain, Captain Ron.

It's a coming of age sort of story where the family, disparate souls, become a group of people who learn to show that they care about each other through a series of adventures. It's not deep, but the locale of the Caribbean means it's not stale either.

Captain Ron (Kurt Russell) is not a completely simple character. He's not a complete waste case, he can sail, and he sometimes cares about someone other than himself. He knows what's going on around him usually, but prefers to remain apart.

Captain Ron is missing two things - a sense of humor and imagination. It's a good thing, too, because those two missing items mean that he doesn't know when he's being insulted and therefore he doesn't take offense. It also makes him endearing in the same way a wet, lost puppy is endearing.

Kurt Russell does a good job providing nuance to what could easily have been a cardboard character.

That Martin Short is tolerable as the head of the family that inherited the boat is a testament to the director. Even Mary Kay Place as the mom isn't annoyingly effervescent.

Still, there's Martin Short. I used to love SCTV until Martin Short became a member. SNL with Martin Short? Why bother. Maybe he's funny in person. On television he's so desperate to get a laugh it's painful to watch.

In movies, it's similar. In this movie, although he's servicable as the father, having somebody like Bill Murray play opposite Kurt Russell would have turned this from a diversion into something worth watching.

The movie isn't without its witty lines.

Katherine Harvey: Your boat sank?
Captain Ron: No, no, no, no. Not my boat. My boss's boat. Yeah, we hit this reef. Huge son-of-a-bitch. Ran the whole coast.
Katherine Harvey: Wait. The Great Barrier Reef?
Captain Ron: You've heard of it, huh? Smart lady.
Captain Ron: Yeah, incentives are important. I learned that in rehab.
Caroline Harvey: Captain Ron, I was wondering. Are we going to be going to any more "human" type places?
Captain Ron: Well, you heard of St. Croix?
Caroline Harvey: Yeah.
Captain Ron: We're going to the island just to the left of it.
Caroline Harvey: What's it called?
Captain Ron: Ted's.
Martin Harvey: What pirates?
Captain Ron: Pirates...of the Caribbean.
Martin Harvey: Been to Disney World one too many times have we, Captain Ron?
Captain Ron: You know, I don't believe I've been to Disney World. I've been to DollyWood.
Kathlerine Harvey: He was right about the guerillas.
Martin Harvey: GO-rillas. He said GO-rillas.

Kathlerine Harvey: We'll be spontaneous when we have time.

Then there's the little stuff like the calypso song, "Caroline" with its line "Where you sleep last night, Caroline?" that's always playing as if in tribute to the Harvey daughter who is a teenager but wants to be grown-up.

Some people can watch this movie repeatedly and be entertained by it. For the rest of us, once in a while is sufficient. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, maybe because both the actors, with the exception of Kurt Russell, and the characters they played were people I'd cross the street to avoid in real life.

This movie has chick flick potential. Maybe it's because everyone is damaged in some way and it brings out some maternal thing. Or maybe it's the scenery (which could have been more breathtakingly photographed). Or maybe it's Kurt Russell in his prime with his shirt off. Or maybe it's the humor, which isn't clever or subdued but does draw smiles.

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