‘Fool’s Gold’ jumps on treasure-hunt movie bandwagon
Both Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey appeared together in the 2003 romantic comedy “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (which I called “How I Lost $10 in Two Hours”), and the studio execs apparently felt that there was some chemistry happening, since they’ve been brought together once again for “Fool’s Gold.” There definitely are some sparks between the two of them, and don’t they look so cute together?
This time, however, it’s McConaughey who has lost the girl because of his too-laid-back and not-committed-to-the-relationship character. I’ll get back to them later, but first, the good news: The cinematography (by Don Burgess) is gorgeous, shot on location in Queensland, Australia, which doubles for the tropical beauty of the Caribbean. The reason for the location was because the real Caribbean was experiencing hurricanes at the time. The tropical setting sets the stage for the elusive buried treasure that is the driving force of the movie.
The very free-spirited Finn (McConaughey) and his scene-stealing bud, Alfonz (Ewen Bremner), are sifting through the waters off the Florida Keys, as our man Finn is obsessed with finding the legendary Queen’s Dowry sunken treasure that was lost at sea in the early part of the 18th century. Everything has taken a back seat to this one goal, including his marriage to Tess (Hudson).
Much like his adventure in the 2005 movie “Sahara,” where McConaughey was seeking a lost battleship in the desert, here he substitutes sand for water, but the road to adventure is similar (he also had a worthy sidekick), except that here, the whole relationship/divorce scenario wears rather thin after a while.
Their characters play off each other well, and it’s obvious that buried beneath Tess’ wanting their union to end, love still is apparent, but the whole cat-and-mouse game gets in the way of the story. When a couple is so opposite from one another, you wonder how they even made it in the first place. True, the treasure hunt may have brought them together in the beginning, but even love can take a lifetime to find.
Directed (and co-written) by Andy Tennant, “Fool’s Gold” arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day, with the woman being the more pragmatic and the guy … well, sailing without much of a rudder, shall we say? While Finn continues to bury himself with increasing debt, Tess has been working for British billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) as a steward aboard his pricey yacht, the Precious Gem, so that she can say goodbye to Florida. Things get a little convoluted about how Finn finds his way onto Nigel’s yacht, but, unlike the story, at least the boat floats.
I’m always amazed at the timing of those finding hidden treasure, when the good guys start at about the same time as the gangsters searching for the same booty, thereby intersecting at some point, even on the same day.
I felt bad for Sutherland’s character, because he should have been used more instead of as the requisite financial backer to help Finn out. He’s really a good actor, too, but here he wasn’t allowed much range. The same with Hudson. She has proven herself in past films (loved her in 2000’s “Almost Famous”) to be a pretty good comedic actress, but here she seemed a little held-back. Just because the treasure is buried, she doesn’t have to be, you know?
In the end, “Fool’s Gold” will be remembered as the second film that Hudson and McConaughey starred in together, and hopefully with the next one, they’ll hit pay dirt. Instead, rent McConaughey in 2001’s “The Wedding Planner” (with Jennifer Lopez) or, better yet, 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally” for Valentine’s Day, and don’t forget the candy.
– Howie Nave is host/manager of The Improv comedy club inside Harveys and reviews films for seven radio stations throughout Northern California and Nevada, including Sirius Radio. He hosts “Howie’s Morning Rush” on Tahoe’s KRLT radio, and you can see his film reviews on RSN. For past reviews, blogs, and audio clips, visit http://www.HowieNave.com.
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INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees will be holding the first of several budget workshops for the 2021/22 fiscal year.