Captain Ron

Kurt Russell doesn’t usually go for the comedy scripts so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Captain Ron but it was a legit blast of good times and the character he creates here is a legendary tornado of dreadlocked, suntanned, beer swillin’ manic energy. Martin Short plays a reliably high strung Chicago businessman who inherits a decent sized sailboat from a distant relative, and has to go down to the Caribbean to sail it back up before it can be appraised by an oily marine magnate (Paul Anka, of all people). So he decides to take his wife (Mary Kay Place) and two teenage kids along for the adventure, and since Russell’s renegade rascal Ron seems to be the only skipper on the rock who isn’t too hungover to be their guide and navigator, he hires him on the spot. What could go wrong? Well… not as much as I expected from the marketing on this thing but like… in a good way. The comedy is surprisingly restrained, very situational and well written where it could have been pretty 90’s silly slapstick and Russell’s performance, although loopy as all hell, is actually pretty subtle when it comes to getting those small, spur of the moment laughs that sneak in and become the funniest bits of the film. Like when he’s explaining the hierarchy of a ship crew to this clueless family and he goes “incentives are important. I learned that in rehab.” They encounter storms, pirates, packed harbours ready to party hard and armed ‘guerrillas’ (another joke that landed spectacularly) attempting to overthrow an unstable government and although Short’s attitude sometimes makes this feel like the ‘trip from hell downward spiral of insanity’ kind of flick it wants to be, it inadvertently just ends up having a great time out at sea and becomes a party, laidback hangout film, which is fine by me. This is thanks mainly to Russell and his effortless good ol’ boy charisma; even when he’s playing the most stoic, unfriendly badasses you always just get the sense that he’d be a guy you’d love to have a beer and just kick it with. Well you can do that here, and Captain Ron is one of the most easygoing, flat out hilarious and downright fun films of his career. Good times.

-Nate Hill

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