I’ll give everyone a minute to make their “Rosie’s Big Gay Boat Ride” jokes.

In 2004, TV talk show host Rosie O’Donnell and her partner Kelli chartered the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn and set sail for seven days in the Caribbean with some 500 gay and lesbian families. “All Aboard!” documents the events of this cruise, the first of its kind, and attempts to show us that – hey, gay and lesbian parents love their kids too.

The ship travels from New York to Florida and the Bahamas, and by and large, they encounter receptive crowds. The exception being Nassau, where two churches stage a demonstration, and even this turns out to be somewhat exaggerated, as the total crowd appears to number less than 100. It’s mostly clear sailing, if you’ll pardon the expression, as we meet a number of the guests and their kids, and also see a couple of marriages at sea.

Rosie O’Donnell is a pretty polarizing figure, and the movie actually works best the less she’s on screen. Not because of any political proselytizing she does, but rather because the former “Queen of Nice” is not the warmest person in real life, and director Shari Cookson wisely chooses to focus on the guests rather than her. The guests, to a one, go to great lengths to show their affection for the kids they’ve brought along.

Well, no kidding. Any right-thinking person understands that homosexuals make fine parents (at the least, they’re no worse than straight ones) and love their children. You’d be an idiot not to, after hearing the crap these people have to go through to adopt or find surrogates. The problem with “All Aboard!” is not that it doesn’t convey this adequately, but the opposite. So much time is spent showing happy scenes of kids frolicking with their same-sex parents, we barely scratch the surface of how these people came to get those kids in the first place.

Let’s face it, nobody who thinks homosexuality is sin or believes gays are unfit to raise children is going to watch this. Cookson’s preaching to the choir here, and rather than use this forum to try and duplicate the sense of belonging (that was sort of the point of the cruise in the first place) by getting more of the parents to discuss their stories, she seems content to make what mostly amounts to a commercial for some future gay cruise line enterprise.

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