Written by: Patrick Howard | April 7th, 2020
Same Boat (Chris Roberti, 2019) 1 out of 4 stars.
Same Boat is the latest independent feature film to try to blend the demands of a genre like science fiction into its own. Now, high concepts and the overtly grounded nature of an indie flick aren’t necessarily a bad combination right out of the gate. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster garnered much critical acclaim for its flawless mixture of a dystopian future and complex themes of family relationships and bereavement.
Chris Roberti’s Same Boat follows two time-traveling assassins on another routine mission to kill the next person who may harm humanity in the future. The assassins, played by Roberti and Julia Schonberg, try to take advantage of the fact that their next target, played by Tonya Glanz, is on a luxury cruise ship. However, seasickness and the unexpected twist of Roberti falling in love with Glanz’s Lilly pushes the entire mission overboard.
While indie films in the past with similar levels of production value to Same Boat have been entertainingly effective, Chris Roberti’s time-traveling romantic comedy struggles to even offer consistent performances from its cast. Roberti’s Jake is the kind of low-energy character that is not uncommon in romantic comedies. The problem is that this is a character who has always been relegated to the supporting role in a rom-com. When you put the character and an actor like Roberti front and center and plop the responsibilities of a charming and interesting leading star in his hands, it can feel like pulling one bloody tooth after another to get a performance that doesn’t sound like Eeyore after a bottle of anti-depressants.
While Roberti’s acting chops leave a lot to be desired, he manages to muscle out a couple of laughs from his deadpan delivery. He also has passable chemistry with Glanz. When the two wander around the cruise ship partaking in its activities and events, the meet-cute banter and improvisation flows substantially better.
Admittedly, this was the only real benefit that came out of Roberti and his crew secretly filming on a real cruise liner. The background actors being real passengers does add a nice layer of verisimilitude. If you’re the kind of person who loves watching strangers awkwardly stare down the lens of a camera from a distance for what feels like an eternity, then Same Boat is the movie for you.