Fool’s Gold (2008)
Fool’s Gold (2008)

Genre: Romantic Comedy and Adventure Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.

Release Date: February 8th, 2008 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Andy Tennant Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Alexis Dziena, Ewen Bremner, Ray Winstone, Kevin Hart, Malcolm-Jamal Warner

 


 

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ere’s a film that couldn’t be more farfetched in its premise and more watered-down in its approach. “Fool’s Gold” takes the typical romantic adventure premise and attempts to invigorate it through contemptibly unnecessary character development for its oversized supporting cast. It also shows lengthy series of events adding up too smoothly or simply being wildly unfathomable, pushing the realism straight overboard. Nevertheless, “Fool’s Gold” is likely to make its projected profit based on the big-name stars alone, though this stale rehash of productions like “Six Days Seven Nights” or “National Treasure” is about as much fun as sinking in a ship.

In 1715, a treasure galleon with hordes of money for the queen’s dowry disappears in hurricane winds. Present day treasure hunters Ben Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey) and his ex-wife Tess (Kate Hudson) have been searching for the lost fortune for years, but continually get caught up in financial and marital problems. When Ben discovers a clue to the whereabouts of the sunken ship, he enlists the help of millionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) and his daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena) to uncover the loot – while also attempting to win back Tess’ love. But rum-maven Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) is intent on getting his hands on the riches too, and he isn’t afraid to use brute force to stop everyone in his way.

PG-13 brute force, that is. The only killing that takes place is amongst the baddies – and just about every other violent happening is tinged with humor or pure fantasy. Like nearly all toned-down comedies of late, the primary predicament is too serious and the resolution too unlikely to be handled with any sincerity. For a villain unconcerned with cold-blooded murder, Bigg Bunny sure does shy away from deadly violence and even blood. Henchman Cyrus (David Roberts), on the other hand, relishes in brutality and evil grins. PG-13 evil grins, that is.

Each of the supporting characters in the film seems to soak up enormous amounts of running time, delving into backstories that couldn’t be more pointless. Gemma and her father experience even more bonding time than the main characters, who generically struggle over their recent divorce. Gemma’s stupidity often stirs up laughter, so it’s not entirely wasted, but the constant attention to mending a shaky relationship with her very aged father is largely unfunny and meaningless, made more noticeable when pacing issues become quickly detrimental to such a lighthearted plot.

Sadly, the players are all poorly constructed stereotypes of cooler characters that many will remember from better movies. Hudson strives to light up the screen, but the bland and predictable scripting gives her little to work with; and McConaughey attempts the carefree and simple-minded approach to a rugged scoundrel, but comes across as a fourth-rate nod to Indiana Jones or Allan Quatermain. Several of the supporting roles practically overshadow the leads with their strange idiosyncrasies, but impart nearly zero influence on the story. It’s as if the screenwriters wrote enough parts for a few sequels, but chose to cram them all into this single episode. Of course, with or without a franchise in the works, “Fool’s Gold will certainly attract the viewership it was intended to – those who wish to see a mindless, action-oriented romantic comedy requiring no expenditure of brainpower.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10