Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Boatniks" Cruises Along on a Predictable Voyage

Cleveland Press July 27, 1970

Well, it's clean, which is something to distinguish a movie these days and if "Boatniks" resembles something you saw on television the other night, it also rises above it by being more professionally more slickly done.

"Boatniks" is the latest product from the Disney factory which once in a great while turns out a big, powerful, handsomely designed vehicle while the rest of the time it sticks to making mass produced jobs that vary little except that they get maximum mileage from a minimum of plot.

This one is a variation on the story of a lovable loser, the well-meaning bungler who comes through in the end in spite of himself.

Robert Morse, friendly and innocent looking as a pup, is a Coast Guard ensign assigned to duty at a busy California harbor. The place is a regular freeway filled with small boats and weekend boaters.

There is a thin storyline in which Phil Silvers, Norman Fell and Mickey Shaughnessy make the scene as a trio of jewel thieves trying to smuggle their loot to Mexico and getting mixed up with the boating set while doing it.

Morse defeats them only because they are bigger bunglers than he, clearly a case of the spoils going to the least inept.

The laughs are from the brief vignettes -- Joe E. Ross, speaking not a word except for pained exclamations as he tries to dock; Wally Cox as a swinging bachelor who has taken the motor out of his boat and replaced it with a wine cellar, so he can have non-stop parties with bathing beauties as guests (Disney movies have changed just a little); Vito Scotti as the owner of a Mexican charter plane service.