By the time this review is over, I will have spent more time thinking about Fool's Gold than the writers of its script. This...thing...is one of the sloppiest pictures released by a major studio in recent memory. What can you say about a "romance" with no romance, a "comedy" with no laughs, an "adventure" with no excitement? Though I certainly wasn't rubbing my hands together in anticipation walking in to the theater, I thought this would at least succeed at being an enjoyable time waster. "Attractive people wearing few clothes in exotic locales -- I can handle watching that for a few hours," I thought to myself. But I was wrong. So very wrong. The whole affair is about as compelling as a two-hour fart.
I don't ask a great deal from romantic comedies. I don't need every one to be Annie Hall or When Harry Met Sally or Love, Actually. I don't even need them to be particularly good -- I kinda enjoyed The Holiday, for God's sake! Give me a few laughs, appealing leads, a warm squishy feeling, and you've done your job. Plainly, the makers of Fool's Gold did not do their job. Listen, I know Valentine's Day is coming up, so heed this warning -- if you see this crashing bore of a movie on a first date, your relationship is doomed, cursed even. Do not speak on the way home, avoid eye contact, just go your separate ways and don't speak of the evening again.
A relentlessly shirtless and Nickelback-coiffed Matthew McConaughey plays Finn (have you ever met a "Finn?"), a beach bum/treasure hunter obsessed with finding the "Queens Dowry," 40 chests of treasure lost at sea in 1715. His wife Tess (have you ever met a "Tess?"), played by a relentlessly scowling Kate Hudson, wants to divorce him because he's so immature. But despite her hatred for him, they reunite for one last score and I'm dozing off just writing this sentence. I won't waste your time with the details of the plot. The epic ten-minute sequence in which McConaughey and Hudson explain the history of the treasure is so poorly conceived, so talky, so dry, so dull, that I'm fairly certain sitting through it rendered me impotent. I won't subject you to the same fate.
Perhaps realizing the main story was dead in the water, the filmmakers have padded the story with a seemingly endless parade of charmless, pointless supporting players. There's Alexis Dziena (if you saw Broken Flowers, you remember her shocking nude scene) as a giggly Paris Hilton clone. There's her father, Donald Sutherland -- sporting a British accent that would make Keanu Reeves wince. There's The Cosby Show's Malcolm-Jamal Warner, sporting a Jamaican accent that would make Donald Sutherland wince. There's Ray Winstone, who is supposed to be McConaughey's main competition for the treasure, but inexplicably only appears in a few scenes. Want painfully unfunny stereotypes? There's comedian Kevin Hart as a rapper named Bigg Bunny (ha-ha!), and there's Michael Mulheren and Adam LeFevre as a couple of aging-but-sassy homosexual chefs (ho-ho!). This baby's got it all!
The film was directed by Andy Tennant, who also helmed the vastly superior Hitch -- a film that seems like Bringing Up Baby in comparison. Tennant co-wrote the script with John Claflin and Daniel Zelman (writers of Anacondas 2: Hunt for the Blood Orchid -- a film that seems like Jaws in comparison). I refuse to believe that any of these men found one line of dialogue in this script amusing. Comedy writers use the term "placeholder joke" for a line that works for the moment but will need to be punched up later. Fool's Gold is a placeholder movie, waiting for a thousand fixes that never come.
Hudson and McConaughey are attractive, moderately talented people, but they create a gaping black hole of chemistry nothingness here. Hudson repeatedly comments on McConaughey's amazing sexual prowess, but it's hard to believe they've even shook hands before. Watching these two "romance" each other, you'd swear that right before each scene Hudson turned to McConaughey and whispered "I have the worst diarrhea." Then McConaughey responded "You look exactly like my sister." Then director Andy Tennant shouted "Okay, you two both have herpes...and...action!" I've experienced more romantic sizzle with my desk lamp. And I don't even like my desk lamp.
I'd call Fool's Gold the worst movie of the year, and it certainly is, but that really doesn't make as strong a point as I'd like. It's only February after all. So I'll say it's the worst movie in a couple years. Please don't see it. Do something more fun with your time. You know, like jamming a piece of barbed wire into your urethra.
Pretty scenery, though!