Same Boat (2020)

“My new best friend and my new ex-girlfriend, making out in the graveyard like a couple of sexy ghosts.”

Same Boat is a guerilla-shot, micro-budget indie comedy most exemplary.

As result of the filmmakers’ guerilla tactics, the film looks a lot bigger and more expensive than it really is: co-writers Josh Itzkowitz, Mark Leidner, and Chris Roberti (who directs and stars) brilliantly filmed their time traveling, sci-fi rom-com on-the-fly without permission on a cruise ship. But make no mistake: Same Boat is not of the Ed Woodian Plan 9 variety. This is a memorable dealmaker analogous to Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi.

In terms of time travel flicks, Same Boat is high up on the list alongside George Roy Hill’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaugtherhouse Five and Woody Allen’s Sleeper. If you’re a fan of the low-budget time travel romps Primer (2004) from Shane Carruth and Colin T. Tervorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed (2012): this is your picture. If you want Will Smith in Gemini Man and Bruce Willis in Looper . . . well, I got this faulty flux capacitor back in Hill Valley I’d like to show you.

In this quaint take on James Cameron’s The Terminator crossed with the 1993 French comedy Cible émouvante (aka Wild Target; remade as the 2010 Billy Nighy-starring British comedy of the same name), James (Roberti) is a time traveling assassin (who uses a repurposed non-contact infrared thermometer as his “weapon”) from the 28th century sent to the year 2018 to kill the vacationing Lilly (Tonya Glanz)—who just dumped her boyfriend—aboard a cruise ship on the way to Key West, Florida. But when his assistant-trainee, Mot (Julia Schonberg, doing a fine job in her acting debut), is sidelined by seasickness, and a paperwork snafu stymies the mission, James decides to take a vacation himself and inadvertently falls in love with his target—over karaoke and slices of key lime pie.

Will duty . . . or love prevail?

As result of my never-miss-an-episode fandom of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, I immediately recognized actress Tonya Glanz from her recent guest-starring role as “Monica Russo” on the series’ 21st season episode “She Paints for Vengeance”—as a street artist who use her art as a weapon against her rapist (she’s excellent in the part). Another standout is short film and web series veteran Katie Hartman (Assisted Living) as the Katja, the salty-mouth, sexually-suggestive cabin steward. And Chris Roberti is perfectly dry and droll for the roll: all jobs, regardless of the times, become a lesson in monotony and we start to phone it in: even 28th century assassins.

Mark Leidner and Josh Itzkowitz are also the writing and production team behind the superb, 2018 black & white sci-fi thriller (that reminds of Darren Aronofsky’s 1998 feature film debut, Pi) Empathy, Inc., which deals with a conspiracy behind a VR company selling “non-virtual” reality programing. You can watch the trailer on You Tube; the film recently made its free streaming bow on TubiTv.

Comedian Chris Roberti has been around for a while, working on a wide array of short films and web series. The most successful of those web series, the Vimeo-streamed comedy High Maintenance, is currently in its fourth season on HBO. You can watch the season four trailer on You Tube and stream the series via HBO Now or Hulu.

Same Boat is currently making the festival rounds, with well-received showings at San Jose’s Cinequest and Chicago’s Midwest Film Fest. You’ll be able to watch this inventive film when it debuts on VOD and PPV on April 7 courtesy of Dark Star Pictures. You can also learn more about the film at their official website and Facebook page.

We love our sci-fi here at B&S About Movies, so much so that we did a month-long September blowout on apoc films, a week-long tribute to Planet of the Apes movies and its knockoffs (in light of Disney announcing their newest ape flick), and a week-long December rally of Star Wars-inspired films (in tribute to the release of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker). You can catch up with all of those apoc reviews with our two-part “Atomic Dust” round up, along with our “Ape Week” and “After Star Wars” retrospectives.

Disclaimer: This movie was sent to us by its PR department. As always: you know that has nothing to do with our feelings on the movie.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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