Posted: 02/15/2008


Fool’s Gold


by Hank Yuloff

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Okay, so am I seeing You, Me and Dupree or The Wedding Planner or Failure to Launch or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days 2? Nope… It’s Fool’s Gold, the new action/comedy/romance film by director Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) in which Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson team up again for the second time as Benjamin and Tess Finnegan, a couple with challenges. In Days, we see them meet, break up and get back together again. In Fool’s, we see them long after they have met, gotten married, broken up and are now wondering if they will get back together again. Benjamin is still hunting for treasure, Tess has taken a job as a cabin steward for billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) on his amazingly huge yacht.

What brings their worlds together is a ship that sank 300 years ago near Key West. It is the same ship that kept them together years ago and eventually broke them up. The Aurelia was laden with Spanish gold, but it disappeared in a hurricane. From records found in various libraries and church basements, Benjamin is certain he has found the ship. And through an amazing plot twist—okay, believability is rather difficult here—happens to become friends with Honeycutt and convinces him to bankroll another treasure hunt. The real reason that Honeycutt agrees is that he sees it as an opportunity for him and his wild child daughter, Gemma (Alexis Dziena), to do something together and build their relationship to something more than a platinum AmEx payment. I will say this for the plot line, we are given enough detail and it sounds plausible enough to make my “Are You Kidding Me?” meter stay in the green.

Of course, it isn’t just the difficulty of finding the ship which causes them problems, it is Benjamin’s recent past. He owes a gangster, Bigg Bunny (oh come on, just call him Bugs) $62,500 and Mr. Bunny owns the island where the ship went down. Mr. Bunny has decided that Finnegan is expendable since he is going to soon own all those doubloons.

I was expecting to see a romantic comedy. The Warnings (trailers) show McConaughey and Hudson in all sorts of action packed predicaments but what was not shown nor hinted at was the amount of violence on screen. A little much for the younger ones.

The action is plentiful enough to keep you interested. The underwater sequences are not as good as in Into the Blue but you don’t have Jessica Alba in a bikini coupled with global warming is killing the beautiful reefs. The acting is good enough to keep you amused though the ditzy Gemma character is a bit too trite. Sutherland is always perfect—a true professional and Hudson and McConaughey make their romantic scenes believable enough to make their “I hate you” scenes believable. Yep, make-up sex is wonderful for them.

You won’t be a fool if you go see this picture, but don’t expect to find more than a little bit of gold. This one is a rental or cable flick.

Hank Yuloff is a critic in Los Angeles.

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