All that glitters

<i>Whoa</i>,<i> dude</i>! Did you see that thing flying by in flames? That looked kinda like my career! Cool! Hey, wait. How’s my hair?

Whoa, dude! Did you see that thing flying by in flames? That looked kinda like my career! Cool! Hey, wait. How’s my hair?

Rated 2.0

Fool’s Gold is garbage—pretty garbage inhabited by pretty people in pretty surroundings, but it’s still garbage. The box office juggernaut that is Kate Hudson combined with Sir Matthew of McConaughey gets a second go around after the lousy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but their latest effort isn’t much of an improvement.

McConaughey plays Benjamin, a crazy treasure hunter reluctantly getting a divorce from Tess (Hudson). He finds a plate shard he believes to be part of a tremendous long lost treasure, but he sinks his boat in the process. He owes big bucks to a music magnate named Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart, doing a fairly funny riff on Diddy and Kanye West). Ben and Tess finally get a financier (played horribly by Donald Sutherland) to help with the search for booty and the defeat of Bigg Bunny.

If that sounds a little stupid, that’s because it is. Sutherland does his role with an affected British accent—I think it’s British—that’s acid on the ears. It really is a career low point for Keifer’s dad. Also sporting an intolerable accent is Ray Winstone as a rival treasure hunter. I have no idea what kind of accent he was trying to use, and I don’t really care.

As dumb as it gets, the movie avoids complete lousiness because it is shot well and is easy on the eyes. Some will be pleased with an often topless McConaughey, while others get to ogle Hudson and costar Alexis Dziena (who plays Sutherland’s ditzy daughter) in bathing suits.

The underwater sequences have their moments. Give director Andy Tennant (who directed the halfway decent Hitch) some credit for a couple of amusing set pieces. The film starts promisingly with a boat sinking that had me giggling. I also liked Hudson’s reaction to a grave being exhumed ("Maybe it’s a head!").

Some of the editing is atrocious. Sequences often just sit there with nowhere to go. There are times when the film suffers from an identity crisis, not knowing whether it’s a romantic comedy or serious treasure-hunt movie. It never really finds its happy place.

McConaughey runs around with his mouth hanging open, while Hudson plays much of the film in frustrated, moping mode. I can honestly say I like both McConaughey and Hudson, but I think they deserve better material than they’ve been choosing. Hudson’s career is, at the moment, mirroring that of her talented mother, Goldie Hawn. It started with some critically acclaimed, quality work but has degenerated into lame-brained romantic comedies. It’s a shame because, as Almost Famous showed, she has talent.

As for McConaughey, he seems to be playing a lot of goofballs lately. I liked him in Frailty and The Newton Boys. Hell, I even liked him in Reign of Fire, the dragon movie that everybody but me hated. I just wish he’d lighten up on the empty-headed romantic comedies and opt for something more adventurous. The Internet Movie Database lists two promising future projects, Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller and something called Surfer Dude, which could be wonderfully stupid. Call me an optimist.

One thing’s for sure: Hudson and McConaughey will probably share the screen again someday. Their movies make a lot of money, and they have decent chemistry. It’s time to match that chemistry up with a decent script. So, if you’re a writer, and you have a highly intellectual dream project with the likes of McConaughey and Hudson in mind, get cracking!

There was actually a round of applause when the movie ended at the screening I attended. There was nothing special about the screening; it was just a typical Saturday night, yet, a round of applause upon the film’s conclusion. And with that, I officially gave up my quest to understand this world that surrounds me.