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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.65%
Worth A Look: 5.88%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad35.29%
Total Crap35.29%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings

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All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise
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by Erik Childress

"When Al Pacino Made Cruising – This Wasn’t What He Had In Mind"
1 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Those who would define the nature of family through race or sexual orientation are misguided fools directly influenced by prejudice or politics. To hear arguments of how same-sex couples are more handicapped in their ability to raise a child than multi-gender or even single parent households just makes me wave a dismissive hand at how short-sighted people can be. To them, it’s not a debate – just a fact, usually “written” somewhere as unnatural – and I say whatever. Just as I am now doing to the other side of the flag, a documentary that tells you precisely what its about in the first five minutes (not to mention the title) and then tells you the same thing for the next 85 minutes straight over and over again. Guess what? Gay families love their children. Stop the presses!

In 2004, Rosie O’Donnell and her lifemate, Kelli, concocted a vacation cruise that would bring together gay couples and celebrate the families that so many lawmakers would just as soon break apart, let alone live next door to. 1,500 people signed up. No mention is given to how many were turned away or what the capacity of the ship actually was. But on their vacation, the happy families were treated to live stage shows (geared towards their lifestyles), stand-up routines by the likes of Rosie, Judy Gold and other gay comedians and all the amenities of your standard cruise along with on-board seminars on adoption and panel discussions which scream anything but vacation. What is the audience treated to? A repetitive torture that does nothing to further the cause for gay rights and may actually set itself back. At least 90 minutes or so.

Like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 where he probably failed to convince anyone who wasn’t already on the anti-Dubya wagon, All Aboard thinks it’s making a dent when all its really doing is trying to show off home movies to people who have no interest in watching. No one is doubting the sincerity of their diligence to make this happen, but we’re talking film here and a documentary needs to be more than just an idea or a piece of propaganda. At least when Moore did it, he achieved friction by presenting facts worthy of debate and came through with a piece of entertainment. If he had just presented two hours of stupid things Bush had said, it would have been equally as frustrating. Anyone can look at a puppy and go “awwww, ain’t that cute”, but explain to them what they’ll need to do to take care of it for 15 years and you’ve got their attention. All Aboard tries to give us 90 minutes of “awwwww’s” and we wind up going “ewwwwww.”

Already, someone has probably stopped reading. But in no way am I referring to the affections of the gay couples in the film, only to what comes off as the potential exploitation of their own children in order to grease the wheels of change. In several scenes, the cameras barely conceal the practical shoving of some of the children into the frame. I’m exaggerating just a tad, but puppy or kid, it all comes off the same. Scene after scene is couple after couple reminding us how much they love their children and then parents of the gay couples saying how much they support their gay children. What does Rosie have to say about all of this? Well, not much. She’s mostly seen on-stage, getting her makeup done or looking generally annoyed at something as if she were watching this documentary too.

If the makers of All Aboard really wanted to craft something, they might have found some parents who were just coming to terms with their gay children or produce another side of the argument that could either provoke our own understanding of the situation or debunk myths about the statistical analysis of child-rich families (i.e. divorce, trauma, etc…) The personal stories we hear in the film are interchangeable; including former NFL linebacker, Esera Tuaolo (of the Green Bay Packers - no joke), whose tale was far more fascinating during a Real Sports interview with Bryant Gumbel.

There’s not a single trace of rhythm to the documentary which is frequently interrupted to tell us precisely where the on-camera interviews are taking place. That’s right, the cruise line is getting its money worth in free advertising as we’re thrust from the 16th deck to the dining room (which sounds impressive because someone’s name is in front of it.) You know, a lot of documentaries have been made and I can’t recall one pausing to tell us John Smith was being interviewed in “The Living Room” or that we’re now in “The Parking Lot.”

Just this week I was questioned if I had something against homosexuals because I dared to question precisely how “revolutionary” Brokeback Mountain actually was. Don’t stoop to the easy assumption that I don’t support the cause being fought for in the film. I absolutely do and think that politicians and church groups really need to look down at those WWJD pendants they wear around their necks. Only there’s not much of a fight going on. What we basically see is a collection of smiling families enjoying themselves on a cruise. Riveting. I will say that I always find it funny that one of the first thing any discriminated group does is to create a gathering that is inclusive to their own kind. Maybe there’s a comfort level involved for them, but isn’t that precisely the same argument the majority would use when excluding them? Sure, some straight people were allowed on the cruise – the parents. So they didn’t really exclude straights – just didn’t really invite them aboard. Kinda flies in the face of the conductor’s final bellow, doesn’t it? And shouldn’t that be what we’re really fighting for? Otherwise its not a true rainbow, now is it?

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originally posted: 02/03/06 04:01:34
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/29/07 Melody I watch the documentary every chance I get!We can all learn from other people's experiences 5 stars
4/07/06 Dean touching look at American families 5 stars
2/16/06 BoondockTwat I'm not sure, did Mike think it was great? 3 stars
2/06/06 Cathy the point. LISTEN to the children. PROTECT the children and families. ALL of them 5 stars
2/06/06 Charlie I did tell how we adopted our five kids in the Doc. Not sure what you were watching. 4 stars
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  DVD: 13-Jun-2006



Directed by
  Shari Cookson

Written by

  Rosie O'Donnell
  Kellie O'Donnell

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