One of the most generic, predictable and uninspired films to come out of Hollywood in some time, Fool's Gold reunites Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, the team supreme who hit box office pay dirt withHow To Lose A Guy In Ten Days a year or so earlier.
The film follows Ben Finnegan (McConaughey), better known to his friends as 'Fin,' a rascal of a treasure hunter who is obsessed with finding the wreck of an old Spanish boat off of the coast of southern Florida. When the boat he was loaned from a gangster named Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) sinks, he finds himself on the receiving end of some nastiness from a pair of dreadlocked hit-men (one of whom is Malcolm Jamal Warner from The Cosby Show). He escapes from them just in time to make it to the courthouse where his wife, Tess (Kate Hudson) has divorced him. They begrudgingly decide to go their separate ways and be done with it, but you just know that isn't going to last.
When, seemingly by fate, Fin finds himself saved by the boat of a wealthy man named Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland) and his daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena), he's surprised to find Tess working onboard. Of course, Fin convinces everyone to join him on his treasure hunt and they all rush to find the loot before a competing group of treasure hunters or the aforementioned gangsters can beat them to it.
Fool's Gold tries to work on the same level of better romantic action comedies like Romancing The Stone but lacks the originality and excitement of that earlier and far better picture, primarily because we know pretty much exactly where it's all going about fifteen minutes in. It's almost as if the filmmakers decided that since the two leads proved a viable and bankable team in their first film together that putting them in a second movie together would be enough. The script seems to have been cobbled together from a couple of other films, particularly Overboard, a movie that it shares more than a few similarities with in terms of structure and character development.
If the leads were up to the task we might be able to overlook the completely cliché ridden storyline, but the film doesn't really impress in that department either. Hudson looks bored and seems to be phoning in her performance while McConaughey is so completely smug throughout the entire film that his character seems entirely devoid of emotion, making him difficult to sympathize with and in turn shooting down the entire romantic aspect of the storyline. Donald Sutherland is mildly amusing in his supporting role as the wealthy yacht owner and Alexis Dziena is at least fun to look at but really, not a single actor or actress in this film delivers anything even close to a memorable performance.
At 112 minutes in length the film is too long for its own good and becomes tiresome. Some of the action and adventure scenes are mildly enjoyable and from a technical standpoint the movie looks and sounds quite good but the entire film is so hollow that it's hard to care. A couple of neat explosions and a few decent scuba diving scenes aren't enough to make this one worth bothering with.
Fool's Gold arrives on Blu-ray in a 1080p VC-1 2.40.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The image quality is a bit of a mixed bag here. Most of the film takes place on or around the ocean and so there's a lot of blue on the screen at all times. There are some nice lush locations used and the colors really should pop off the screen - and they do... a little too much. The blues are a bit over done as are some of the yellows and oranges and the picture winds up looking kind of fake. Flesh tones look a bit waxy in spots and darker levels loose some fine shadow detail. Now, this is probably the look that the filmmakers were going for - the film really does feel sun-drenched and tropical for much of its run time. Sadly this comes at the cost of some fine detail and it winds up feeling very artificial. There are parts of the movie that look nice and clean and sharp and natural but these are the exception rather than the norm and the end result is that the movie just looks off.
Standard definition Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound options are provided in English, French and Spanish with optional subtitles available in the same three languages. While there aren't any problems with this perfectly acceptable standard DVD mix, it would have been nice to see WB take advantage of the possibilities that Blu-ray offers. Surrounds are well used and dialogue stays clean and clear from start to finish. There aren't any problems with hiss or distortion and everything is well balanced. That said, it doesn't provide the same level of depth that a good Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD mix does and because of that it's a bit of a disappointment in that regard. The audio here is fine but it really should have and could have been much better.
Extras on this release are surprisingly slim. Aside from menus and chapter selection options, we get a Gag Reel (2:16) that is little more than a couple of minutes of goofy flubs from the cast and we get a brief featurette entitled Flirting With Disaster (3:54) which looks at the working relationship shared between Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. This is pretty superficial stuff and it lends exactly zero insight into the making of the film despite input from the two stars as well as Donald Sutherland and director Andy Tennant. Both of these featurettes are presented in 480i standard definition.
If generic and predictable romantic adventure films are your thing, by all means, give this one a shot but the film is so completely predictable and generic that it's hard to imagine this one will land on anyone's 'must see' list. The audio, video and extra features are just as unremarkable as the film itself, making it easy to skip Fool's Gold.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.