Svetlana directed a number of much-loved comedies during the late seventies/ early eighties and this is one of best known. It’s a typically energetic screwball comedy, seemingly taking inspiration from both Love Boat and Some Like It Hot, boasting sumptuous locations and an all-star cast.
The movie begins with an extended – in truth, rather extraneous sequence – in which Kevin James confronts his wife (Loni Sanders) and her lover (Mike Ranger) over their affair. Having witnessed his typically ‘adult’ revenge – he ties his wife to a tree and has sex with two nubile women in front of her – the main story begins to take shape.
Randy West and Turk Lyon concoct a plan to stow away on an all-female cruise ship. Cue comedic shots of two broad-shouldered men in drag, walking somewhat awkwardly on high heels, boarding the ship under the cover of their none-too-convincing disguise. The middle third of the movie is really just the adventures of our amorous heroes and their increasingly accommodating shipmates. However, things do take a dramatic turn when the ship is boarded by pirates. Rest assured, two burly cross-dressers are on hand to save the day.
Sex Boat is enjoyable fluff and frequently finds its way on to lists of the best Golden Age movies. The uninitiated will probably be surprised by this because it really doesn’t stand comparison with, say, Damiano’s best work, or even that of Radley Metzger (whose hardcore films are at least comedic). However, it’s worth baring in mind that the darker efforts of the porno-chic period were always in the minority and would all-but disappear in the eighties. Sex Boat is totally inconsequential but shouldn’t be dismissed for that. Svetlana’s movies – and one shouldn’t underestimate the influence of veteran producer David Friedman – manage to maintain a sunny, carefree tone despite featuring their fair share of kinkiness and coercion. They also benefit considerably from beautifully photographed and blessed with reasonable budgets. The work at hand is typical of this winning formula. It uses a simple premise as a launch-pad for a variety of sexual hi jinks, most of which are staged amidst luxurious surroundings. It’s undeniably silly but, truth be told, so are most movies – adult or otherwise.
Of course, the other reason this movie is so fondly remembered is the cast – specifically the female cast. The ship’s captain is played by the curiously underrated Roxanne Potts/ Cody Nicole. Other notable participants are Kelly Nichols, Kandi Barbour, ‘Little Oral Annie’ and the aforementioned Loni Sanders. None of the above acquits themselves especially well in thespian terms but the camera loves them and they all contribute admirably to the whole.