Anthony Esbensen, Communitarian Feature Writer
The film industry has always taken a risk on comedians. Some make it, some don’t. The same is true for films. Some end up on some obscure website. Some become classics that withstand the test of time (think Casablanca). And then some become cult classics.
Among the comedians Hollywood took a risk on was Chris Elliott. And so, he was cast in Cabin Boy, the 1994 film written by Elliott and Adam Resnick, who later wrote for the Larry Sanders Show.
Tim Burton was supposed to direct but pulled out to direct Ed Wood. Seems like a smart career choice in hindsight.
Resnick was now in charge of directing. The movie ran into problems from the beginning, including a budget slash from $50 million to $10 million.
Cabin Boy stars Elliott as Nathaniel Mayweather as a spoiled brat who stumbles onto a fishing boat after David Letterman, playing a monkey salesman, delivers one of the most memorable lines in the entire movie.
“Would you like to buy a monkey?”
Mayweather doesn’t discover he’s on the wrong boat until it’s too late. But he infuriates the fishermen who tie him to log pulled from the stern. He then hallucinates and sees a cupcake in the sky that spits out ‘black tar.’
That’s when he spots Trina, played by Melora Walters, trying to break the world record for swimming the ocean. Somehow, the boat ends up on an island where Mayweather sleeps with a goddess named Calli and then falls into Trina’s arms. Calli’s husband seeks revenge, but Mayweather ends up killing him and becomes the hero. (Hey, I didn’t write the movie!).
The movie grossed $3.7 million worldwide, Resnick never directed again, but the “Would you like to buy a monkey?” was used as a joke during the Oscars of 1995.
Despite this, the film has developed cult status. If you are into demented movies, this might be for you. But if you do decide to give it a try, have a few friends along for the ride.