"Fool" doesn't strike gold

Feb. 13, 2008, midnight | By Monica Wei | 14 years, 6 months ago

Treasure-hunting theme lacks originality

The aesthetic quality of "Fool's Gold" is undeniable – from Matthew McConaughey's chiseled abs to the breathtaking Bahama Islands where the characters seek treasure. Unfortunately, though, eye-candy isn't enough to distract the audience from the movie's lack of substance.

"Fool's Gold," which aspires to be a comedy, romance and action film all at once (and ends up being none of the above), follows the story of treasure hunter Finn (Matthew McConaughey) and his ex-wife Tess (Kate Hudson). When Finn finds a clue that could lead to the Queen's Dowry, lost hundreds of years ago when the Spanish fleet carrying the treasure sank in the Caribbean, he sets off on a treasure quest, dragging Tess with him. The two remember what made them fall for each other in the first place, and their romance is rekindled. Throw in a rich old guy, Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland), with a yacht, his skinny bimbo daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena) and a villain rapper-gangster named Biggs Bunny (Kevin Hart) and there's a cast.

"Fool's Gold" bores simply because the movie lacks creativity. The characters and subplots that could have been interesting end up either listless or painful. The plot is horribly predictable, down to the sexual tension and villainous acts. The progression of events feels leaden, and the lengthy discussions on exactly where the treasure is drag on for too long.

Finn and Tess's romance feels almost set to a standard movie timeline, and the awkward sexual tension between Finn and Gemma disgusts more than it entertains. Furthermore, poor Kevin Harter was miscast as the murderous rapper Biggs Bunny. This stand-up comedian's feeble attempts at villainy aren't humorously triumphant for Finn and Tess, they're just plain pathetic for the poor Bunny.

The movie does have its few fine moments, mostly involving explosions. An accidental detonation sends Finn flying from the ocean into the air, and a giant blowhole spews water and treasure pieces into the air. Unfortunately, the gold in these scenes is tarnished by the seemingly random annoyances that the scriptwriters write into the movie in their attempts to be original. Gemma's silly attention-grabbing antics add nothing to the movie, and leave viewers wishing that she would just get off the screen.

McConaughey and Hudson, the pair that brought viewers "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," have an easy on-screen chemistry that could have redeemed "Fool's Gold" from the disaster that it is. Unfortunately, both the characters of Finn and Tess lack the sparks that make characters likeable. Tess's character isn't charming; she's whiny and pathetically weak-minded. Finn enchants with his passion for treasure hunting and history, but his surfer-bum persona lacks real character development, preventing him from being dynamic or truly likeable.

"Fool's Gold" emulates the adventure "National Treasure," but sans the charisma and wit that made the latter a fun movie. With lackluster characters and a bland plot, "Fool's Gold" misses the glitter and finds rubbish instead.

"Fool's Gold" (119 min) is rated PG-13 for action violence, some sexual material, brief nudity and language. It is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Monica Wei. Monica is an unfortunate piece of fruit that has been suspended in a gelatin cup. Okay, not really, but sometimes she feels like one. Monica the strawberry chunk enjoys reading, sitting in trees and watching the clouds go by. She thinks that anything tastes good … More »

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