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Sunday 12th April 2009

Boat That Rocked?
Boat that was sexist and shit and full of stereotypes and didn't have much of a story and was rubbish, though will make quite a nice CD of the music of the film, more like.
Though that would probably be a less commercial title.
Who do you think should be editor of the Radio Times Film Section? Me or Collings? It should be me. But there might be a bit of tension in the podcast immediately after I take over the position.
Not that Collings would complain - the doormat in need of a hug.
But thanks to Richard Curtis' latest I have learned that all women are duplicitous whores and that attempted rape is something to have a giggle about. I wish he'd done that before. A whimsical rape might have brightened up "Love, Actually" a bit. Just in the middle, if Hugh Grant and locked Martine Mccutcheon in his PM office, hit her over the head and taken her over her desk, whilst she protested, asking him why on earth he was doing this, and that she fancied him anyway, but he didn't care and just ploughed on. Everything else would be the same in the film and he'd just carry on like it had never happened, but there would have been an especial added tension when he turns up to take her to the nativity play with the lobster in it, and she feels she has to go because he is Prime Minister and could have her killed and she would no doubt be recoiling from his touch when he tries to kiss her at the end. Maybe he could attempt to rape her again then and when the curtain pulls back to reveal his crime, the audience all stand up, applaud and laugh and encourage him onwards, saying "Go on Hugh, do her, the bitch" and so on and Emma Thompson pulls that face and says, "Oh Hugh" and then Bill Nighy staggers in, doing that jerky head thing and acting in the manner that he has done in everything he's been in for the last ten years (and you have to applaud him for carrying that off with such aplomb, meaning he never actually has to do any acting) and ums and ers and says "My turn next errrrr, Hugh!".
Maybe you have seen "The Boat That Rocked" and didn't consider it to have an attempted rape scene, just a cheeky and hilarious bit of farce where Nick Frost attempts to assist an 18 year old in losing his virginity, by hiding him in his bathroom while he is in the bedroom with a girl, turning off all the lights and then doing a switcheroo by heading to the loo, so the young man can go back in and take his place. Ignoring the fact that the plan would never work, because the girl would wonder why her loquacious lover had suddenly stopped talking and had suddenly lost six stone. Frost tries to address this by telling the sexually inexperienced man that he will have to choose a position where she won't notice. I am quite a sexually experienced man and can't really imagine what this position would be. I suppose coming in from behind might work if the woman was drunk and stupid, but how would you get her to adopt the necessary position without talking to her and allowing her to touch you or by touching her in any way that would reveal you weren't a fat hairy man? Ah who cares? You're raping her. By the time you've got in there, just hit her on the head and get on with it.
Hilariously the rape plan almost falters because the boy has forgotten to take off his clothes - she'd notice if a naked man turned into a clothed one of course, but not that a fat one had become thin because women, I guess, are interested only in clothes and are thus experts on that. Then she wants to come in to use the loo so the boy has to hide under some towels. I know, you can see why Curtis wanted to keep this scene in. It's comedy gold. And any woman who is just coming on to a boat to sleep with DJs is obviously a whore who will sleep with anyone, so it's not proper rape. But just in case she isn't a whore it's best not to just ask her if she'll take the boy's virginity, but to trick her into doing it.
The scene though comes to an hilarious, non-judgemental climax, when the boy enters the room in the dark and the woman turns on the light and sees it is not the man she was expecting and he runs out all embarrassed. Ha ha ha. So no one got raped, so it's OK.
But what if she hadn't turned the light on?
Never mind, it's just cheeky Nick Frost being cheeky and so we the audience aren't meant to judge him. As we're not meant to judge anyone later when Bill Nighy kindly invites a young woman aboard to, presumably take the young man's virginity (though this time she will get some say in whether she goes ahead with this, though not all that much), she berates the youngster for being presumptuous enough to have procured a condom the second after seeing her, he throws it into the sea to display his contrition. She says he will need a condom after all (because all women are whores), but Nick Frost doesn't have another one and so he has to get one from Rhys Ifans, but in the forty-five seconds it has taken him, even though the girl has (at least) consented to sex with him, she has got bored waiting and is now hilariously in bed with Nick Frost (because all women are not only whores, but duplicitous whores and can not be expected to wait sixty seconds for a responsible sexual partner). either Nick Frost was lying about not having a condom or is having unprotected sex with her - it isn't explained, but either outcome is equally hilarious so it doesn't matter. I don't know if we are meant to find this betrayal funny or funny, but a little bit sad. Nick Frost and the boy had seemed to be friends and he seems to forgive him and get over it by eating a biscuit.
But then when Roy from the IT crowd gets married to a girl he's just met, who reveals the next morning that she only married him so she could get to stay on the boat, because she was actually in love with Rhys Ifans (again another duplicitous whore and another woman prepared to share the bed of anyone she happens to bump into), everyone is morally outraged with Ifans, who it seems to me has had very little to do with the plan. Nick Frost has the audacity to sit there looking pissed off, even though he has done something equally bad to his friend, as well as having attempted to orchestrate a rape.
Ifans looks like he's going to be in real trouble, but it's OK because he climbs up the mast with that bloke from Boogie Nights and jumps into the sea and they all respect each other again and become closer than ever.
Maybe these stories are based on stuff that really happened to the pirate radio DJS and maybe this is exactly what the swinging sixties was like. Maybe Curtis is right and all women are just duplicitous whores or at least the kind of women who want to have sex with some shallow DJs on a boat in the sea are. But if the stories have any truth in them then it would be good to have a go at genuinely exploring the emotional resonance of them, or at least give some indication that the protagonists might have to take responsibility for their actions. Or that doing a switcheroo in the bathroom with a mate is actually rather creepy at best and not a funny little wheeze, even if it goes wrong (if Peter Sutcliffe had dropped his hammer as he went for his first victim and she'd got away, would that have then been funny?).
It's amazing how badly wrong this film goes. It's got an amazing cast of some of the best of the current crop of comedy actors and is written by someone responsible for many great hits over the years (though it jars when he calls one character "Twatt" in a heavy-handed and unrealistic echo of the funny and charming Blackadder "Darling" gag). I wasn't expecting all that much from this film and I was still gravely disappointed. My girlfriend started playing patience on her iPod she was so bored. The fact that there were maybe only 50 people in the massive West End theatre we were in suggests that the word has got round, though incredibly top price seats were £19 - my grandad is spinning in his grave and I am spinning out of mine - and this time we weren't able to sneak from the cheaper (!) £14.50 ones. Which is still a lot of money to pay for playing patience.
I am going to email Richard Curtis and tell him I hate him and ask for my money back. Or at least Brenda may feel that I've had some payback for offending her and stealing her money. What goes around comes around.

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