Monday, February 18, 2008

From the Archive: "Fool's Gold" Film Review

Film Rating: F–

Welcome to The Archive, a comprehensive collection of reviews dating back to 2007, originally written for The Denver Post’s YourHub.Com website and print edition!  In the archive, you’ll find hundreds of movie, DVD, Blu-Ray, and TV reviews, along with other special features.  You can access the complete Archive Collection by clicking here, and read about the archive project by clicking here. 

Continue reading after the jump to access my original review of “Fool's Gold.”

From the Jonathan R. Lack Review Archives:
“Fool's Gold”
Originally published February 17th, 2008

Dear Kate Hudson,
            Quit doing movies like Fool’s Gold.  You’re better than that.  And if you wish to continue doing silly romantic comedies, at least do them with Owen Wilson (You, Me, and Dupree was nothing short of a comic masterpiece).  You two have real on-screen chemistry.

Dear Matthew McConaughey,
            You seem like a nice, fun-loving guy, and you’ve got some good on-screen charisma.  But please, quit doing these silly treasure-hunting’s getting really old.

Dear Hollywood,
            Remember when you used to have roles for great actors like Donald Sutherland?  Please write some more, so he doesn’t have to appear in films like this to make end’s meet.  Or, simpler still, quit making movies like Fool’s Gold. 

Now that I’ve got my brief notes to the people involved with this production out of the way, let me just cut to the chase.  Why, oh why doesn’t the projector ever break down when you want it too?  The only times the projector ever breaks down is in the middle of exciting action scenes in good action movies, when you really don’t want it to break down.  I would have bent down on my knees and prayed if it would have made the projector break down in the middle of Fool’s Gold.  Because not only would I have gotten to leave the theater, but they give out free movie tickets to come back and see another flick.  What an unfair universe we live in....

The plot (which is a rather strong word to be used here) involves a treasure hunter named Finnegan (McConaughey) and his ex-wife Tess (Hudson) searching for millions of dollars in gold.  The gold is underwater because a ship carrying a bunch of it sunk for some strange reason...I’m not really sure why.  This movie doesn’t attempt to make it abundantly clear what it is they’re searching for.  It’s much more about showing a shirtless McConaughey and a bikini-clad Hudson than providing a viable plot.  But there are moments where the movie acts like it has an extremely intelligent plot, which is about as precocious as it gets.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The couple join together again to find the treasure, and get elderly millionaire Nigel Honneycutt (Donald Sutherland) to fund the expedition.  Of course, no adventure film would be complete without a compelling antagonist, would it?  I guess that makes this movie incomplete, because the villain is a rap artist by the name of Big Bunny.  Yes, you read that right.  The villain of the film is a rapper with a terrible name. 

So obviously, the writers didn’t make the effort to put together a coherent or quality plot, but that could be saved by some funny dialogue, good set-pieces, or quality acting, right?  Well, yes, that could have helped, but sadly, this film lacks all of those.  The first problem is that as a couple, McConaughey and Hudson have almost no on-screen chemistry.  I really can’t believe these two to be a romantic pairing in any way.  The fact that every other role is miscast doesn’t help much; no one in this film has any resemblance of chemistry together. 

It’s a shame to see Donald Sutherland degrading himself to this level.  It should be easy for him to get a role in a good drama, shouldn’t it?  I just feel sorry for the guy.  Even his exceptional acting abilities can’t make the film’s stilted and ridiculous dialogue sound good. 

Overall, the movie has the feeling of a fairly mediocre TV movie.  The direction and camera work is nothing special, the acting is cheesy, the actors seem to forget their dialogue a few times and just stall for time until they remember it, and the musical score is incredibly generic, like the demo recordings on keyboards.  It doesn’t help that the villains also serve the purpose of comic relief, which makes for (to put it lightly) un-compelling antagonists.  Of course, anyone who thinks a rapper named Big Bunny would make a good bad-guy in a movie about treasure hunting needs to get off whatever drug they’re using.  The entire production just reeks of effortlessness.     

Then again, in the minds of a Hollywood executive, all you need to do is put people like McConaughey and Hudson on screen together, and you’re bound to make oodles of cash (a prediction that has come true).  More effort is put into capturing McConaughey’s shirtless figure on camera than writing a decent plot.  Seriously, this guy takes his shirt off at the most inappropriate got laughable 10 minutes in.  I also don’t buy McConaughey as a genius archeologist (Sahara, anyone?), but that’s really not worth getting into.

The bottom line; please don’t give Hollywood 10 dollars worth of box office reason to make more films like this.  I’m honestly ashamed that I went to see this film, and I think I’ll go rectify it by watching a real adventure movie, like Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

The one redeemable aspect of this movie?  The title is at least true; only Fools would find gold in this lump of coal. 

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