Crew of Short, Russell and Place can't keep 'Captain Ron' afloat

September 19, 1992|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Film Critic

Top Ten Reasons for Avoiding "Captain Ron."

10.) Do the words lame, lamer and lamest mean anything to you?

9.) Cute kids.

8.) Martin Short in yet another throwaway part. Here's a horrifying sub-thought: Suppose this is all the Martin Short there is? Suppose for the rest of his career he plays mild suburban dads who find themselves mildly overmatched by circumstances, make a lot of funny noises but ultimately and sentimentally rally in the end. The movie would have been a lot funnier if he'd done everything just the same except . . . he was Ed Grimley. And no one ever commented on his weirdness. They played it deadpan.

7.) Rattails. Kurt Russell's whole performance is built around them. His mane is jammed with them. He's a sort of Rasta white boy of the Caribbean, a Captain Kidd without a Jolly Roger or a funny script. He ends up piloting Short's boat from one end of the sea to Miami, all the while spouting his lines in a low growl as if his larynx has been sandblasted with Ajax. But he keeps making mistakes. This movie is calculated to appeal to the vast legion of Americans who've never made a mistake. Let's see, that's Mia Farrow and Phyllis Schlafly and if I can think of the name of the other one, I'll let you know.

6.) Mary Kay Place. As the wife.

5.) Why do they have to spend all that time on the boat?

4.) Movie would be a lot funnier if everybody in it had those crazy fake arrows through their heads.

3.) The Usurpation of the Parent, Permutation 13. This time, the kids and even the doughy Mary Kay Place are drawn to the magical bonhomie of the irresistible rascal Captain Ron, and so somehow Good Dad Short must win them back. He does this by masterminding a plot to steal the boat from the Cubans, who have stolen it. Lots of guns are fired but, believe it or not, nobody gets hit! This gambit is so old it was probably written by a stegosaurus.

2.) If they cut out all the times Martin Short bumps into something and falls down, the movie would be seven minutes long.

1.) Two words: Kurt Russell.

'Captain Ron'

Starring Martin Short, Kurt Russell and Mary Kay Place.

Directed by Thom Eberhart.

Released by Touchstone.

Rated PG-13.

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