Blue Crush

Blue Crush
Starring Kate Bosworth, Sanoe Lake, and Michelle Rodriguez. Directed by John Stockwell. Rated PG13.
Rated 2.0 Confections like Blue Crush aren’t so much movies as they are rituals. They rise and fall less on the dramatic contortions of the plot than on the strength of the sport involved, the director’s adeptness at bringing out the essential spectacle, and the reality with which the athletic champion can capture something more about personal ambition than hitting a ball, slapping a puck, or, in this case, carving a wave.

If all the elements come together, the best kind of transcendent movie experience can occur.

If they don’t, you get a pedestrian jog like Crush.

Starring Kate Bosworth as Anne Marie, a onetime comer on the Hawaiian surfing scene, Crush traces a week in her life as she tries to put a near-drowning scare behind her and win a big surfing competition so she can break herself and her housemates (Sanoe Lake and Girlfight’s Michelle Rodriguez), as well as her little sister Penny, out of the beachfront poverty of Hawaii’s not-so-tourist-friendly areas. Along the way she connects up with an NFL quarterback in the islands for the Pro Bowl and then does a lot of fretting.

And that’s the problem.

While director John Stockwell demonstrated a surprising amount of dexterity when navigating the clichàs of Kirsten Dunst’s teen-rebellion flick, last summer’s crazy/beautiful, Crush hits all this genre’s flat notes. Rodriguez is the crabby trainer. Bosworth is hounded by nightmares of her last big failure. But she is so mealy-minded about herself, we’re not sure she should even attempt surfing anymore. Or anything else.

But the film’s fatal flaw is that the surfing itself is somehow blanded down. While there are a few visually interesting moments, most sequences are so cut up by extreme editing that they lose all the grace and power inherent in a person armed with nothing but a board and good balance conquering a mountain of water.

There’s a good movie in here somewhere. Unfortunately, none of the creators were able to find it.