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No Cinematic Treasure Found in Fool's Gold

  • Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2008 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
No Cinematic Treasure Found in <i>Fool's Gold</i>

DVD Release Date:  June 17, 2008
Theatrical Release Date:  February 8, 2008
Rating:  PG-13 (for action violence, some sexual material, nudity, language)
Genre:  Comedy
Run Time:  113 min.
Director:  Andy Tennant
Actors:  Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Alexis Dziena, Kevin Hart

It’s been said that “lightning never strikes twice in the same place,” and the adage definitely applies to Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in Fool’s Gold.

While the actors’ easy chemistry and comedic charms made a rather formulaic premise surprisingly entertaining in 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, any hope of striking rom-com gold twice was quickly washed away by a hokey script and hardly a laugh in the Fool's Gold’s nearly two-hour running time.

Incidentally, for anyone who’s wondered if Hudson and McConaughey are indeed this decade’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as many movie mags have recently suggested, well forget it. Although the easy-on-the-eyes pair gives it their best effort, they just don’t look like they’re having that much fun here.

Perhaps that’s because the treasure-solving initiative they’re supposed to be all excited about really isn’t that interesting. Sure, there may be diamonds, rubies and emeralds “the size of your fist” at large, but the history behind the treasure is told to such detailed (and boring) effect, that it’s hard to believe these sun-kissed creatures ever cared in the first place.

So in the absence of a well-crafted (or at least semi-entertaining) story, the filmmakers attempt to trick the audience by putting a whole lot of bronzed skin on parade. And while it’s clear that Hudson and McConaughey especially have done their due diligence at the gym, that’s hardly enough to even consider Fool’s Gold a guilty pleasure.

Unlike, say, National Treasure where the history lesson is light and breezy, McConaughey’s Ben “Finn” Finnegan and his now- ex-wife Tess (Hudson) are obsessed with some booty that’s far more obscure—the legendary Queen’s Dowry, a ship full of Spanish treasure that supposedly sunk in the Caribbean in the early 1700s.

Since the treasure’s apparently worth a rather large fortune, although how much is never really clarified, Finn just can’t forget about it. And when Finn’s repeated failed attempts to capture it put him in hot water with a rapper named Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart), Finn hopes that trying to find the dowry one more time will not only help him pay off his debts, but will repair his crumbled marriage to the woman he still loves.

Not surprisingly, given Tess’ ranting about Finn’s lack of funds, he doesn’t have any financing for his adventure. Well, until a billionaire yacht owner, Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) and his ditzy celeb daughter (an annoying Alexis Dziena) conveniently enter the picture. Given the fact that he’s already rich, Nigel’s interest in the treasure isn’t all that clear. But with a curious British accent that comes and goes as quickly as the waves, Nigel helps anyway, adding nothing new to this already overblown affair.

So does Finn achieve his goals and find the dowry? My guess is that you probably won’t care by film’s end. If the writers had actually bothered to give the characters some depth, then you might. But that lack of character development, not to mention a harebrained story that’s really not worth telling in the first place, wouldn’t allow even the best onscreen duo to shine. Now that’s foolish indeed.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Social drinking shown throughout.
  • Language/Profanity:  Plenty of your standard-issue profanity, including instances of the Lord’s name taken in vain.
  • Sex/Nudity:  There’s a long running joke that Tess married Finn for the sex, and his bedroom prowess is discussed several times. Later on, the newly divorced couple has sex in a church. While there’s plenty of noise, nothing is shown except kissing. Two of the chefs on the ships are gay lovers and aren’t particularly shy about making sexual innuendos. Finn’s bare bottom is briefly shown in one scene, and a woman purposely flashes her breasts at Finn when he’s in search of rescue in another scene. Many of the characters also wear skimpy clothing (tiny bikinis for all the girls and McConaughey is shirtless per usual).
  • Violence:  There’s plenty of gunfire (including one character getting wounded), people hitting each other with any random (and heavy) object available and violence played for comedic effect.
  • Religion:  After Finn and Tess have sex in the church, Tess is worried that she and Finn are going to be struck by lightning.