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Review

Hudson, McConaughey reunite for lackluIster ‘Fool’s Gold’

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February 14, 2008

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where cinema went wrong.  Somewhere along the celluloid highway it became acceptable to shoot a sub par script with the excuse of an exotic location backed by a cookie-cutter cast of Cracker Jack reject stock characters. Enter “Fool’s Gold,” the latest Hollywood feast of flesh that stresses not smart plotting but sun-baked hotties running amuck in places the average movie-goer can only dream of visiting. 

In this sense, “Fool’s Gold” morphs itself into a travelogue intent on merely bragging about its locale while serving as a subversive ad for your local gym and sun tan parlor.  Brought in to guide you through this bronzed plastic oasis is Hollywood’s Ken and Barbie duet, Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. This time around, the pair, boasting about as much chemistry as a My First Chemistry kit, aims to cure audiences’ winter blues by delivering a jolt of island electricity a la “Into the Blue.” 

Ben “Finn” Finnegan (McConaughey) is a surfer-bum turned treasure hunter obsessed with discovering the Queen’s Dowry, a centuries-old booty of 40 chests overflowing with the glittery promise of a fresh start. Finn has sunk everything he has, including his marriage to Tess (Hudson), into his plundered quest for glory and gems. 

Discovering a vital clue to the treasure’s whereabouts, Finn finagles his way back into Tess’s life by charming his way onto the yacht she now works on. Using his school-boyish charisma, Finn convinces the yacht’s owner, billionaire Nigel Honeycutt, (Donald Sutherland) and his Blackberry toting bimbo daughter (Alexis Dziena), into a romp across the South Seas in search of the legendary Spanish wreckage.

Along for the ride is a bevy of hackneyed characters so stereotyped they defy convention. Director Andy Tennant should be applauded for assembling such a diverse but forgettable cliched troupe. 
The end result of mashing all these cardboard cut-outs together is something akin to squeezing them all into a blender and hitting puree.  Will it blend?  Obviously not!

Tennant seems to suffer from identity crisis as he scotch-tapes this spoof of common sense together; he can’t seem to decide whether to pursue the lackluster action plot or the sexless romantic comedy aside.  Borrowing heavily from his sources of inspiration, films such as “National Treasure” and “Sahara” may even consider pressing charges for identity theft.

Not even the cast seem to care about what’s going on; perhaps they signed merely for a free trip to the Caribbean.  Most of the females, led vivaciously by Dziena, degrade themselves into little more than moving bikini models, and the dialogue delivered is so trite and laughable that the entire cast may as well be reading lines from the Peanut’s parents.

In the end, the film works as troubled doppelganger. The movie sets out with a cavalier attitude, hoping to coast along the very waves it is shooting.  Banking that the promise of hot beach bods will bring bundled up patrons in from the snow, “Fool’s Gold” almost seems content as being a colorful and fleshy, but ultimately futile, escape from commonplace life.

Ken Weigend is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the Student Voice during spring semester 2010.