Directed by Andy Tennant. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Alexis Dziena, Ewen Bremner, Ray Winstone, Kevin Hart, Malcolm-Jamal Warner. (2008, PG-13, 113 min.)
REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Feb. 8, 2008
Fool’s Gold begins with an ending. In sun-baked Key West, Fla., where even people with taste delight at the sound of steel drums, Tess (Hudson) sits grumbling in a divorce hearing with her lawyer and her husband’s lawyer and a presiding judge. All that’s missing is her husband. This is typical: Finn (McConaughey) is a perpetual dreamer, with no car, no money, no sense of responsibility, and no idea how to act like an adult. Just then, as if by magic, our Peter Pan comes running into the office, all sun-streaked hair, white teeth, and beach-bum charm, and I realized that all of Tess’ protestations were unnecessary: Surely, wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt in public is justification enough for divorce in any judge’s court. Even, perhaps, a little jail time. Fool’s Gold is the latest romantic comedy from Tennant, who is very possibly the worst director working in Hollywood today. Fools Rush In. Ever After. Sweet Home Alabama. Hitch. I ask you: Has anyone done more in the last 10 years to make love seem totally unappetizing? Well, Tennant fans will be happy to know his streak remains unblemished with Fool’s Gold, the surprisingly convoluted tale of two gorgeous, love-tossed, star-crossed treasure hunters who reunite to search for a long-missing 18th century galleon that was carrying an enormous fortune to Spain as part of Prince Philip’s dowry for his new bride when it was waylaid and sunk during a hurricane off the coast of Havana and was then saved by an enterprising ship captain’s son who lied to passing sailors about how he came to be shipwrecked on a deserted island and who preserved his secret through the use of cleverly laid clues and mysteries that would one day be solved by two gorgeous, love-tossed, star-crossed treasure hunters. Got that? Add in a hip-hop loan shark with a mean streak, a calypso soundtrack that’s better suited to a cruise-line commercial, and Sutherland employing a British accent that makes him sound like he’s speaking with a mouthful of pudding, and you have a movie that manages to be everything – romantic comedy, adventure film, family melodrama, farce, gangster movie, and history lesson – and absolutely nothing all at once. I won’t even get started on McConaughey, who, if I remember correctly, was once considered an actor, or Hudson, who wasn’t; I didn’t expect anything from them. But Bremner (Trainspotting) and Winstone (Nil by Mouth) should be ashamed of themselves: Considering the state of the dollar these days, they probably could have earned more making this kind of garbage back in Britain. If you’re going to sell out, at least read the financial pages before you do it.