If you think it’s a downer to watch tragedy, you will be forced to admit that it is even more depressing to sit through a comedy that fails to be funny. The painful truth is that “Fool’s Gold” is foolish and wooden. Making things worse is that the two adorable leads generate not a second’s worth of chemistry together.
Capitalizing on the commercial success of “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson play two divorcees who reunite to find a treasure in the Caribbean. What brings them there is a series of preposterous coincidences, leading them to an unexpected cohabitation on a sumptuous yacht owned by zillionaire Nigel Honeycutt, played valiantly but futilely by the brave Donald Sutherland, who looks foolish in this uppity role.
ON A BAD STREAK?
You want to be kind to McConaughey, perhaps chalk up this failure to a bad outing every actor has now and then. But lately, it seems that he is more about making hits than appearing in quality films.As Finn, a hero in the tradition of Cary Grant, McConaughey has no clue about the meaning of suave. Instead of exuding grace and comic charm, he demonstrates long hours of work at the gym. To add to this pecs-and-abs display, there are numerous hints that his character is great in bed. It’s as if our star is mounting a publicity campaign emphasizing his sexual prowess.
That is, after all, why Hudson’s Tess nabbed him in the first place, for in other areas he is a wastrel who laments his chance to venture to the bottom of the sea to find lost Spanish gold and other trinkets from a disastrous 18th-century voyage.
His immediate fear is the murderous wrath of a cartoonish gangster named Biggy Bunny, to whom he owes more than $60,000. Now that he sees a chance to harvest big bucks at the bottom of the colorful sea, Biggy hires a crew in direct conflict with Finn, who now has the backing of Nigel, because for some ridiculous reason, Tess has taken a job as a steward on his boat.
The entire enterprise lacks sense, drive, energy, and above all, it is totally humorless. Director Andy Tennant seems to be equally clueless about directing this kind of movie with verve and style. He is also hampered by a flat script, for which he takes a third of the credit. The only relationship that begins to resonate is that between Nigel and his ditsy daughter, played by Alexis Dziena, and even here, the daddy-daughter connection almost shorts out.
With so many worthy scripts floating around, it is an amazing shame that movies like this get the green light. Obviously, the presence of two hot leads paves the way, but that’s all we get here: abs and beauty. No spark, no romance; just silly action, limp performances, and a dud of a payoff — if, that is, you can stay awake.
Reach Gazette film critic Dan DiNicola at [email protected]
DIRECTED BY Andy Tennant
SCREENPLAY BY John Claflin, Andy Tennant and Daniel Zelman
STARRING Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland and Ray Winstone
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes