Movie Review: Annapolis, 12,000 Leagues Under The Creek Without A Paddle


Movie Review:

Title: Annapolis

Genre: Drama

Screenwriter: Dave Collard

Release Date: Theatrical release 1/27/06, available on DVD 6/27/06

Stars: James Franco, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Donnie Wahlberg

Director: Justin Lin

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Reason for Rating: Some violence, sexual content, and language

Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes

Annapolis DVD Cover
Annapolis DVD Cover

Jake Huard (James Franco) is a blue collar rivet (welder) at an Annapolis ship yard. He grows up yearning to go to the Naval Academy and encouraged by his mother, her dieing wish.

After multiple attempts, he finally wins a wait list spot, championed by LtCdr. Burton (Donnie Wahlberg) and lands in the middle of plebe year (freshman). Not a scholar, Jake has a problem keeping up, which draws the attention of his student CO, Cole (Tyrese Gibson). Cole, a former hard core Marine, takes an instant dislike for Jake. Jake is assisted by his intelligent, but not physically gifted roommate and senior officer (Jordana Brewster), also a love interest. Jake’s previous experience as a boxer assists him as the film culminates with brigades, an intramural boxing competition.

Well, this film hits close to home for me, as I retired from the Academy and I could not wait to see it. Seeing all the locations made me a bit home sick for the beauty and quaintness of Annapolis and the Academy itself. That’s about the time an anvil sized cliche landed in my lap. If you want to see a movie about the Navy, rent Officer and a Gentlemen, but if you want to see a boxing movie, then rent Rocky. This misses on both fronts for me.

Firstly, there’s not a Naval Ship Yard in Annapolis, it’s in Norfolk, five hours away. Secondly, you can’t be a struggling scholar to get in, no less than a fourteen hundred on a current SAT will do. Thirdly, and I mean absolutely no sexual discrimination here what so ever, but a 78 pound, female boxing coach that not only has all her teeth, but is a hottie as well? Even in Hollywood this is a stretch. Fourthly, in all the years I spent at the Academy, the brigade boxing match was no more popular than the rowing team. Why in the world would the producers choose this as the climactic denouement of the film? The USNA is all about football, like most Universities. Fifthly, plebe year starts in the Summer {Plebe Summer} not the Fall. It’s a requirement to attend, so this film starts on poor research, assuming the audience are imbeciles. I’m afraid there wasn’t an original thought in this movie at all. This script fell down the cliche tree and hit every branch.

Tyrese Gibson has to be the angriest actor I’ve ever seen. Chi McBride and Donnie Wahlberg play bit parts, but even they could not elevate this benign story. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. What an opportunity to make a solid and exciting movie in a time when we could have used an uplifting military story. But, no, let’s rip-off ten different scripts and paste then into one, go with the shortest shooting schedule we can and get it released as soon as possible.

Damn the story, what’s our bottom line? Here’s my key point: screenplay development is hard work. It takes a lot of effort in the beginning to write a solid structure and then lots of work to develop everything out and more importantly everyone out. These characters were flat and for the most part I didn’t care about them. I’m sorry to report faithful readers, this pugilistic story of nautical romance drowns.

Hit or No Hit: Coach Mikes witnesses number 17 on America’s Funniest Sports Bloopers, as Annapolis trips over its own shoe laces on the way to first base.

Michael D. Acosta “Coach Mike” is an active screenwriter and a self proclaimed baseball fanatic, as well as a freelance movie and book reviewer. Contact him by writing to NewsBlaze or go to his blog at