February 11, 2008

Even Fools Can Make Movies

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In advertising for this movie, the trailer has The Police’s “Message in a Bottle” playing over the treasure hunting actions taking place in the sparkling blue of Key West. I think that the song is spot on when the lyrics recite “I’ll send an S.O.S. to the world” because I think the big brains behind this egregiously handled piece of work are sending some sort of subliminal message. That message is in the S.O.S. spirit as this movie tanks and is blown to smithereens just like Gigli for Ben Affleck and J-Lo’s relationship.
Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson reunite for the first time since How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, which by comparison had a much more captivating sense to it. Fool’s Gold tells the story of Benjamin Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey), an irresponsible treasure hunter recently divorced against his will from Tess (Kate Hudson), whose joint love is rekindled by the newfound sense of adventure for buried treasure. The blonde duo hook up with millionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) and his bimbo daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena) to get financing for their treasure hunt. Along the way, several greedy money-grubbing villains try to intervene since Benjamin is in debt to the head honcho.
Fool’s Gold brings nothing new to the table as it tries to mimic recent box office successes in its genre, such as National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code. Those were clever and kept you intrigued because they kept you feeling connected to the characters — they weren’t just exciting adventures. With Fool’s Gold, the made-up historical matchmaking of clues is uninteresting and at times fruitless. In the opening scenes, Benjamin unearths a clue after his incompetence results in his boat exploding and sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Benjamin and Tess, when they were still infatuated with each other spent the better part of their marriage piecing together these clues to get closer to the legend of this buried treasure (just like any other treasure hunting movie).
Matthew McConaughey reprises his role of the handsome tan beach bum with a Texas accent that makes the ladies woozy. The charm radiates out of him, making young Gemma surrender to him and Tess eventually fall back into his arms. His charm adds to the moments of tolerable humor. In any movie he’s in, he plays the same guy. This movie was perfect for him because here his naked golden pecs were able to bask under the golden Floridian sun.
Kate Hudson showed promise as a young actress once, which earned her that Oscar nomination for Almost Famous. Since then she’s sold out to do a bunch of unfunny romantic comedies with Matthew McConaughey look-a-likes (if not him). In her first moments on screen, she is very condescending and not just to her old beau. This later evolves to her constantly being pretentious, all of which coincides with an undercurrent of overacting.
Believe it or not, the movie seemed to have a lot of fat on it, for it dragged on for what seemed to be an eternity, especially at the end. The characters’ development was diminutive and just didn’t establish a connection between them and the audience, resulting in indifference on my part. Tess’ condescending and pretentious tone was disturbing mainly because she didn’t have anything in her life that really made it justified. I’d be lying however if I said that Tess was the movie’s biggest flaw. It would have to be some of the absurd nonsensical dialogue that flowed out of Gemma. Yes, I understand she’s supposed to be the spoiled little rich girl who’s as dumb as a doornail, but it was so overused that at many junctures it actually became nauseating.
The only saving grace for Fool’s Gold would have to be McConaughey’s occasional jokes, which seep through his charmed persona as well as the beauty of the island scenery in the vast deep blue of the ocean. As you can imagine, the scenery was tropical and the sun always shined happily while the camera was rolling — just not on anything related to making the movie enjoyable. A few side characters tickled the audience’s funny bone, like the gay cooks and Benjamin’s Ukrainian hunting partner.
Why Donald Sutherland agreed to do this whole film in an upscale British accent is beyond me. Maybe he was drunk driving, like his son Jack Bauer, when he accepted this role. Fool’s Gold gives you a couple of laughs along the way of its 90+ minute runtime, but it certainly doesn’t strike gold in this hedonistic paradise of a setting. If you like movies with tediously flat and dry plotlines that could make you drift into a sound slumber, then see this, or its counterpart Into The Blue, where they prove that you don’t need talent to make a movie.