Old Rope is allergic to fish and therefore unable to watch this motion picture. I have a doctor’s note. On the back in barely intelligible scrawl is written the following.
The Little Mermaid is a film about grooming. It focuses on Captain Birdseye, an all American antihero and fisherman on a large dirty trawler, christened the Furtive Tug. Onboard are a crew of foul-mouthed degenerates, each an amorphous fleshy collection of tatty beards, beardy tats and toothless grins. Daily these brigands cast their nets into the murky dark seas, the salty brine lashing their faces and the cold chilling their bones. It is on one such stormy day, with the wind howling about the prow and the deck awash with water and fish flapping about in the final throes of death, that Captain Birdseye (self-styled, he is not the ship’s real captain) makes the catch of a lifetime.
Entangled in his net is a creature of rare aquarian beauty: part haddock, part beatific feminine perfection. Her soft skin and damp hair, her cheeks reddening with embarrassment and fear, her pert breasts barely concealed by two woefully small clam shells – it is enough to make Birdseye’s beard bristle with a coruscating masculine electricity. “Fresh fish is on the menu tonight boys” he murmurs breathlessly to no one in particular.
I said this was a film about grooming and indeed afore long the barnacled Birdseye is grooming this mermaid’s fishy scales and curling her red hair twixt his calloused fisherman’s fingers. The girl is scared but cannot take her eyes from his. Oily, rainbow-streaked scales flake off as old Birdseye strokes her tail harder. Naturally, she cannot speak English but rather attempts to communicate with a series of dolphin-like clicks and hisses. Such aquatic nonsense is beyond the comprehension of Cap’n B, who vows in his head to make this salty strumpet his wife.
After a time the mermaid stops trembling and begins to stroke the molluscs on her captor’s pockmarked face. He smiles revealing a mouth of yellow teeth littered with bits of half-chewed bread-crumbed cod. Apropos of nothing and totally at odds with the film’s tone, the mermaid breaks into song: “I used to be a carp, but I’m all woman now!” she opines like a diva in her dolphine dialect.
About the edges of the boat, riding the crests of each frothy wave and looking on forlornly are a sorry-looking racially stereotyped crab and an exotic looking fish. They are sad, for no more will they spy on the mermaid as she urinates behind rocks and washes her frilly gills when she thinks no one is looking. No more will this maritime Lolita see her family, nevermore shall she swim with the seals or jamboree with the jellyfish at dances on the ocean bed. And it is upon these two jealous friends that the sorry task of relating this sickening Stockholm syndrome style love story between man and fish shall fall. It is they who shall face her father’s wroth, heartbreak and tears.
Back on the boat, Birdseye is deciding whether to sear, sauté or poach.
I give this film 3 fish fingers.