Review: ‘Man Overboard’
I am really not a boat person, nor am I even a water person that much, so the idea of watching a movie about a boat salesman wasn’t something that initially appealed to me. On the other hand, ‘Man Overboard’ isn’t just a movie about a boat salesman, so I let my preconceptions and lackluster interest subside and gave this movie a shot. Generally speaking, it’s actually a pretty cool little movie.
‘Man Overboard’ is an independent film directed by Oliver Robbins and written by Ashley Scott Meyers and Nathan Ives. The film begins as a fairly typical comedy, but as the plot unfolds takes a turn into the darker side of humor gradually folding a bit of suspense into the mix. Matthew Kaminsky (Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control) plays C.J., a family man and workaholic boat salesman who owns his own sales lot.
C.J. has three employees, none of whom could be considered the world’s greatest salesperson. C.J.’s staff is empowered with a winning combination of skills including laziness, apathy and lack of motivation that results in C.J. carrying most of the business’ weight. C.J.’s father-in-law puts pressure on him to be more successful, which ultimately results in C.J. putting an offer on a huge house he can’t really afford. During the open house, C.J. meets Johnny Cross, the real estate agent selling the house, and is impressed by his sales skills.
In an odd turn of events, Johnny Cross shows up at C.J.s boat lot the next morning after putting in his offer on the house. Johnny, played by Mel Flair (Rob Zombie’s Halloween), explains that he left the real estate firm to pursue boat sales for fun, stating it’s not about the money for him. C.J. spends little time hesitating in hiring Johnny who offers to work strictly for commission, creating for both parties a win-win situation.
C.J. ultimately ends up promoting Johnny to sales manager, creating an even bigger rift between Johnny and C.J.’s sales staff, but also introduces the darker, true nature of Johnny and reveals his intentions as being less than honest, or even sane. What began as a pleasant comedy about juggling work life with family life evolves into a twisted tale of a family trying to survive the malicious workings of an evil man. In it’s own way, ‘Man Overboard’ is a comedic alternate telling of stories such as ‘Cape Fear’.
The story is surprisingly engaging, the acting is accomplished enough to maintain interest and the humor is enjoyable and effective, but not over the top. The tension created by Johnny Cross is a key factor in ‘Man Overboard’ producing the arc of the story from the mild-mannered comedy into the dark survival of the fittest sales battle that ends with a final encounter putting everything on the line. The end itself seems a bit too “perfect” for my taste, especially considering what C.J. and his friends and family had just gone through, but doesn’t spoil the movie in general.
‘Man Overboard’ is now available for pre-order through the Official Website. The DVD will officially release on August 11, 2009.