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  Fool's Gold

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Alexis Dzeina

Directed by: Andy Tennant

Produced by: John Klane, Bernie Goldman, Donald De Line

Written by: Daniel Zelman & John Claflin (screenplay & story), Andy Tennant (re-write)

Distributor: Warner Bros.


      Oh, how clever the folks at Warner Brothers must think themselves to be! In Fool’s Gold, their mega-release for the weekend, they have a dynamite date-movie if one ever existed. The picture functions as both a romantic-comedy for the gals and an action-adventure for the guys; it’s filled to the brim with both Lovey-Dovey and Wham-Bam. In fact, how could the average American couple resist Fool’s Gold? Between its perfect mix of testosterone and estrogen, Matthew McConaughey’s frantic charisma and Kate Hudson’s everygirl charm, and gorgeous Caribbean locales, the picture has just about everything in the world going for it that could be, right?

     Wrong. Sure, the movie may boast all of the above and a bag of chips, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s mind-numbingly, earth-shatteringly stupid. Fool’s Gold assumes that its audience is too dim-witted to realize that it’s only as ingenious as it sounds on paper. Sure, the project was a smart business-idea for Warner Brothers because it attracts the interests of both demographics of viewers filling up theatre-seats on Date Night. Sure, McConaughey was the perfect choice for the cocky protagonist: he’s as much a heartthrob as he is a doofus. Sure, Hudson fit into the scheme of things quite nicely: she’s as likable and as smokin’ hot as leading ladies come. And, sure, the Caribbean was the perfect place to set the action because, heck, who doesn’t like looking at the Caribbean projected onto a larger-than-life-sized screen for two hours? Still, the fact that Fool’s Gold chooses to be so utterly trivial should insult everyone who lays down ten bucks to see it.

     As it turns out, the studio just wanted to use the genre-blending premise as a gimmick to lure in potential viewers. Turns out McConaughey and Hudson only chose to participate so they could cash-in on killer-sized paychecks. And, most unfortunately of all, it turns out that the island-setting was only employed so that director Andy Tennant would have an excuse to appropriately play reggae music in the background in order to brainwash audiences into thinking they’re having a good time.

     McConaughey plays Finn Finnegan (as you can tell from his name, he’s a real brainy guy), a professional undersea-treasure-hunter who is on the brink of making a huge discovery. He’s been searching for a stash of sunken Spanish riches for years with his soon-to-be-ex wife Tess (Hudson) and token Russian-sidekick Alfonz (Ewen Bremmer), and he’s finally come into contact with clues that will lead him to it. Of course, the path to the loot proves expectedly difficult for Finn – and not just because it’s lost at sea. First, he must convince the high-minded Tess to take him back before she returns to graduate-school in Chicago once their divorce is finalized. Additionally, he must escape the wrath of the rapper-turned-thug-lord ruling the resident island (har-de-har-har), who is out to kill Finn and take any potential treasure found in the nearby waters for himself.

     Matters complicate and, soon enough, Finn enlists in his quest the help of multi-millionaire businessman Nigel Honeycutt (a pathetically desperate-for-roles Donald Sutherland), who has employed Tess as a servant on his yacht since she left Finn. After a long string of lucky occurrences, Finn convinces Nigel to allow his boat to be used for the in-progress treasure-hunt. As expected, Finn and Tess begin to reignite the dying sparks of their relationship in the process of this, mainly because she becomes once again invested in his wildly rousing expedition with the newfound knowledge that the treasure is realistically ascertainable. Along for the ride is Nigel’s Prada-sporting, twentysomething daughter, Gemma (Alexis Dzeina), who exists as a comic-relief for the sole purpose of reassuring idiotic viewers that they aren’t, indeed, the dumbest living individuals on planet Earth.

     For director Tennant, Fool’s Gold’s utter mediocrity comes as no surprise. His previous effort was Hitch, a dead-in-the-water romantic-comedy that was elevated solely by the charms of stars Will Smith and Kevin James. Unfortunately for Tennant, McConaughey and Hudson don’t quite possess the same level of talent as their industry-counterparts and this movie takes a nose-dive as a result. Tennant’s approach is entirely artificial; he constructs a vomit-inducing number of canned montages and an equally-sickening tone of pseudo-jubilance. By the half-hour mark, it becomes impossible to make any emotional-investment in Fool’s Gold merely because of the lifeless way that the director assembles it. How unfortunate that he is insistent upon making the affair last for 113 minutes, about twenty-five longer than any rational filmmaker would allow such paper-thin material to run.

     By the end of Fool’s Gold, I felt nothing but anger – anger towards the fact that Hollywood continues to green-light such unoriginal cash-cows. I realize that making such a statement is only an act of redundancy on my part—we critics constantly repeat it at every chance we get—but it needs to be made until it is heard. In fact, the only feature of this movie that I am able to wholeheartedly praise is the eye-melting sight of Hudson sporting a bikini for most of the running-length. Unfortunately, Fool’s Gold will likely go on to make every bit as much money as the folks at Warner Brothers predict that it will. At this point, all I can hope for is that the movie isn’t successful enough to warrant (God help us all) a sequel.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 2.8.2008

Screened on: 2.5.2008 at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood, CA.


Fools Gold is rated PG-13 and runs 112 minutes.

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