"If you remember Pearl Harbor..."
Lieutenant Rip Crandall is given command of the USS Echo, an unlikely little dinghy... okay, so perhaps I don't know the difference between a dinghy and a yacht, but it's a small sailing ship, which certainly is not what we're used to seeing in newsreel footage of World War II.
Crandall and his mate are the only ones who really know sailing (as opposed to, um, boating?) - hence all the wackiness of the title. But for all its comedic intentions, the film is more of a straight ahead war thriller, as this small sailing ship and its crew sneak into enemy territory to spy on their movements. It all starts with funny jokes and situations, but it drives everything home with standard, and fairly uninspired, heroics.
This is one of Jack Lemmon's most forgettable roles. His talent is there, but wasted in a film that doesn't amount to much. Ricky Nelson is the first mate, and even gets a song in early on, while Lemmon plays the piano. This is no musical, and whether its a contract stipulation or an attempt to capitalize on Nelson's main claim to fame, the scene sticks out like a brown M&M in Van Halen's dressing room.
There is so little to this film but over-familiar plot devices and the simplest emotional appeals. It's not outright bad, but I can hardly imagine any real reason to recommend it beyond getting the full scope of Lemmon's career, or Nelson's for that matter.
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