The story follows Mort Gleason (played by John Malkovich), a drunken Vietnam war vet, who witnessed his runaway nephew Moo beaten at a bar. Suddenly, he decided to contact Moo’s mother Eileen (played by Dana Delaney) and the other younger nephew Abe (played Jacob Zachar).
The eccentric drunk stood in front of the house for weeks as Eileen finally accepted her brother into her home. Eileen decided to take a mini-vacation for herself to recollect her thoughts, so she would leave Mort and Abe alone at the house. Unbeknownst to her, Abe devised a wanderlust plan with his best friend Dave (played by Brian Deneen) to purchase a sailboat and sail around the world.
Abe contacted a con man Mr. Fletcher (played by John Goodman) for a broken down sailboat named Kathy II. But, he must convince Mort to sign the purchase since Fletcher cannot sell the boat to the minor. However, Mort wanted to do the right thing, but ended up back towards his drunken stupor with the help of Mr. Fletcher. With the broken down sailboat and Mort back to his old ways, Mort and Abe must recollect themselves before Eileen comes back home.
The strongest aspect of this drama would be the performance of Malkovich as an eccentric alcoholic veteran. He was more eccentric than an alcoholic in the movie. It was just a typical John Malkovich character like in any of his previous movies. So if you like John Malkovich for being John Malkovich, then this film is no different.
Young actor Jacob Zachar attempted to portray an overeager teenager who wants to see the world. With several references to Captain Ahab, it was very hard to believe that a young person would want to see the world all due to a Moby Dick story. The kid definitely missed the point of the story.
The biggest weakness of the film was with all the other characters. A star like Delaney was introduced as the sister and mother, but she appeared in the movie for like a whole three minutes. As for Goodman, he was a con man without a real con. The director spent a lot of dialogue and screen time between Goodman’s character and his con partner Morley (played by Jim Ortlieb) over selling a broken down boat. If the boy sort of knows he is purchasing a broken down boat, so then is it really a con?
Overall, the movie tried to blend drama with certain comedic elements, but probably missed the boat on those aspects. And audiences may end up being bored without any emotional attachment to any of the characters. The saving grace for the movie may be the ending, but it happened so fast—it wasn’t exactly memorable or believable.
“Drunkboat” is currently in theaters in limited release. Check your local listings.
Here is a trailer for “Drunkboat” below.
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