Pin It

Booty Call 

Yes, the life of the film critic seems sweet. You get to see all the movies for free. You get invited to special screenings. You always have something to talk about at cocktail parties. So I am not really complaining. But keep in mind, sometimes, too often in fact, and once in a lifetime is way too often, you have to go see Fool's Gold. Written by Andy Tennant with Daniel Zelman and John Claflin and directed by Tennant, Fool's Gold is a romantic comedy lacking the critical elements of romance and comedy. The flick is the story of estranged couple Ben (Matthew McConaughey) and Tess (Kate Hudson) Finnegan. For some time, Ben and Tess have been in search of a treasure ship that sailed from Cuba in 1715 and promptly surrendered to a hurricane somewhere in the Caribbean. Tess was once a graduate student in history and is adept at finding clues to what might have happened to the lost ship in dusty old volumes housed in churches here and there. Ben is an adventurer who is indifferent to shirts and haircuts and obviously spends most of his days doing push-ups. Ben's impressive fitness will not sustain the interest of most viewers who don't pin movie-star posters on their bedroom walls.

In short, Tess and Ben are absolutely great looking. And as they tell the story about themselves, they saw each other, had sex, got married, had sex and cooked up the idea of finding the treasure while continuing to look great and have sex. Life can sure be as savory as a Ruth's Chris filet. Unless you can't find the treasure and you don't finish your Ph.D. and you've racked up huge debts and the future seems to be behind you already. Sure, looking great and having wonderful sex is fine if there's the prospect of money involved. So it's time for divorce.

Unless. Unless they actually could find that treasure because looking great and having sex is so much better when you're rich, as most great looking sexy rich people will concede if they're not talking to a reporter. So maybe that bad black gangsta Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) will bankroll them. Or maybe he will just plan to rip them off and spend most of the movie trying with amazing ineptitude to kill them. Better yet, maybe they could secure needed funding from lonely gazillionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland, collecting a paycheck and sometimes startling himself awake long enough to remember that he's supposed to be oh-so-veddy British). Well, Nigel is a gem of a bloke with so little definition to his character that he could be played by a totem pole. Nigel really isn't a character, actually. He's a premise by which the plot can continue to careen forward.

But if we pause to complain about Nigel, whatever are we to do with his famous for being rich daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena) who shows up for no reason imaginable for anyone not under the influence of mind-altering drugs. Gemma is supposed to represent the Paris Hiltons of the world: pretty, spoiled, self-indulgent and utterly out of it. Shoehorning her character into this script must have been the result of Tennant and his collaborators deciding during a late-night rewrite impulse that the film needed a jolting injection of more embarrassing stupidity. Dziena's contract must have required that she be in a set number of scenes because at the film's predictably ridiculous climax Gemma comes riding out of nowhere on a jet ski to yank Ben aboard and deposit him on the speeding pontoon of a sea plane just about to lift off so that Ben can engage in fisticuffs with Bigg Bunny and save Tess who is improbably aboard. Reality is among the elements in short supply here.

The question I always ask myself when I see a movie like Fool's Gold is: How did it ever get made? What studio mogul with the authority to commit millions of dollars of his investors' money thought this picture was a good bet? I recognize that some viewers like spectacular special effects and lots like action. Adolescent boys howl at gross-out humor. And from Porky's to American Pie, I have understood the commercial appeal of the teen sex comedy. But as far as I can tell, a picture like Fool's Gold offers nothing for anyone. The picture clocks in at only about an hour and 45 minutes, but I've got a sore elbow from the number of times I checked my watch.

click to enlarge Tess (Kate Hudson) and Ben (Matthew McConaughey) are beautiful, sexy and would-be rich people in Fool's Gold. - 2008 WARNER BROS. PICTURES
  • 2008 Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Tess (Kate Hudson) and Ben (Matthew McConaughey) are beautiful, sexy and would-be rich people in Fool's Gold.
Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

or

Latest in Film: Previews and Reviews

More by Rick Barton

Spotlight Events

© 2014 Gambit
Powered by Foundation