Cabin Boy

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Cabin Boy
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAdam Resnick
Produced byDenise Di Novi
Tim Burton
Screenplay byAdam Resnick
Story byChris Elliott
Adam Resnick
Music bySteve Bartek
CinematographySteve Yaconelli
Edited byJon Poll
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • January 7, 1994 (1994-01-07)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$3.7 million

Cabin Boy is a 1994 American fantasy comedy film directed by Adam Resnick and co-produced by Tim Burton, which starred comedian Chris Elliott. Elliott co-wrote the film with Resnick. Both Elliott and Resnick worked for Late Night with David Letterman in the 1980s, as well as co-creating the Fox sitcom Get a Life in the early 1990s. The project was originally to be directed by Burton, who had contacted Elliott after seeing Get a Life. Resnick took over after Burton was offered to direct the film Ed Wood.


Nathaniel Mayweather (Chris Elliott) is a snobbish, self-centered, arrogant, despicable, loathsome virginal man. After graduation, he is invited by his father to sail to Hawaii aboard the Queen Catherine. After annoying the limo driver who is taking him to board the boat, he is forced to walk the rest of the way. Nathaniel makes a wrong turn into a small fishing village where he meets the imbecilic cabin boy/first mate Kenny (Andy Richter). He thinks the ship, The Filthy Whore, is a theme boat. It is not until the next morning that Captain Greybar (Ritch Brinkley) finds Nathaniel in his room and explains that the boat will not return to dry land for three months. Nathaniel unsuccessfully tries to convince each fisherman to set sail to Hawaii, but convinces Kenny into doing so. However, the crew reaches Hell's Bucket, a Bermuda Triangle-like area where weird events occur. The ship is caught in a fierce storm and Kenny is knocked overboard and drowns. Without a cabin boy, Greybar forces Nathaniel to do the chores in return for taking him to Hawaii, as well as teaching him how to become a better, more mature, person. With only one island in the entire area, the crew decide to set sail there.

The fishermen decide to give Nathaniel another chore that involves dragging him on a floating raft for a week. Nathaniel has little to eat or drink, begins consuming salt water and suffers extreme sunburn after confusing cooking oil as lotion. He also realizes he might be going insane after sighting Kenny's ghost and seeing a floating cupcake (voiced of Jim Cummings) that spits tobacco. After falling into the water he is saved by a "shark-man." After nine days, Nathaniel is pulled back in and tells what happened. It is revealed by Skunk (Brian Doyle-Murray) and Big Teddy (Brion James) that the shark-man is known as Chocki (Russ Tamblyn), the offspring of a male viking and female shark, who can be trouble because he can like one person one way, but then hate them in the other.

Nathaniel spots a beautiful young woman named Trina (Melora Walters) swimming in the ocean. After she is pulled up in a net, Nathaniel becomes smitten with her. Not pleased with another passenger on board, the fishermen decide to strand Trina and Nathaniel on the island they're sailing toward.

Finally reaching the island, the crew searches for components to fix their boat. Nathaniel tries to get closer to Trina, who constantly rejects him. Greybar and Skunk suggest to Nathaniel that a woman named Calli (Ann Magnuson) can help build his confidence. After an encounter with blue-skinned, six-armed Calli that results in his first sexual experience, Nathaniel again meets Trina, who becomes attracted to him immediately. Calli's husband Mulligan (Mike Starr), a giant, comes home to find a man's bag. Realizing what Calli has done, Mulligan decides to find her lover and kill him.

Nathaniel tries to save everyone by confessing to the giant he's the one who slept with Calli. Mulligan is about to kill Nathaniel with a giant nail clipper when Chocki saves him. Nathaniel then kills Mulligan by choking him with his own belt.

Finally reaching Hawaii, Nathaniel offers his newfound companions a job at the hotel where his father is the owner. They refuse because all they know how to do is fish and stink. They tell Nathaniel he's a fancy lad who should stay in Hawaii with his dad where he belongs. Nathaniel and the fishermen part ways, including Trina. His father, William Mayweather (Bob Elliott, Chris Elliott's real-life father), expresses disappointment of his son's actions. Not wanting to live the fancy-lad life, Nathaniel leaves to find Trina, and then both join the crew on The Filthy Whore.



The project was originally to be directed by Burton, who had contacted Chris Elliott after seeing Get a Life. Resnick took over after Burton was offered the film Ed Wood.[1]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 46% rating based on reviews from 26 critics, with a weighted average of 4.95/10.[2]

Chris Elliott earned a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star based, but lost to Anna Nicole Smith for Naked Gun 33+13: The Final Insult.[citation needed] The film was nominated for Worst Picture at the 1994 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards but lost to North.

Year-end lists[edit]


Hip hop producer Dan "the Automator" Nakamura named his publishing company, Sharkman Music, after the film.[4] References to the film have appeared in multiple works by Nakamura.[4] For example, the Bulk Recordings edition of Kool Keith's debut solo album Dr. Octagonecologyst, contains a dialogue excerpt from the film preceding the song "halfsharkalligatorhalfman"; the hook of the song, "Half Man, Half Shark", is sampled from the same dialogue.[5]

Post-hardcore band A Static Lullaby reference the film in their song "Half Man, Half Shark; Equals One Complete Gentleman", the title of which is a paraphrase of an Elliott line spoken in the film. The song can be found on their Faso Latido album.

When interviewed by the website IMDb, actor Brett Gelman said this was the most underrated comedy of all time.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Strauss, Bob (December 30, 1994). "At the Movies: Quantity Over Quality". Los Angeles Daily News (Valley ed.). p. L6.
  4. ^ a b Crain, Zac (November 25, 1999). "Handsome Dan, Automator Man". Miami New Times. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  5. ^ Jenkins, Sacha; Wilson, Elliott; Mao, Chairman Jefferson; Alvarez, Gabriel; Rollins, Brent (1999). "You Might Have Missed". Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. Macmillan Publishers. p. 311. ISBN 0-312-24298-0.
  6. ^

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