Chasing Mavericks

Rated 3.0

In 1990s Santa Cruz, a budding surfer (Jonny Weston) persuades the old pro across the street (Gerard Butler) to train him to surf the gigantic Maverick waves of Half Moon Bay on the California coast. The life of surfer Jay Moriarty fits comfortably into the standard Hollywood sports-bio formula. A little too comfortably, in fact—the be-your-personal-best clichés tend to stick out all over Kario Salem’s script (from Jim Meenaghan and Brandon Hooper’s too-pat story), and we grow impatient to get to the big payoff we know is coming. The pace is sluggish, possibly due to a change in directors: Curtis Hanson had to drop out for health reasons, and Michael Apted took over. Still, while the movie tries our patience, it rewards it—acting is decent (including Elisabeth Shue as Moriarty’s mother), and the surfing scenes are terrific.