The only fools here are the ones who pay to see this movie.
In case you were harboring any secret hopes for Fool’s Gold, allow me to quote to you from the ‘official’ studio movie synopsis: “Ben ‘Finn’ Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey) is an affable, modern-day treasure hunter who is obsessed with finding the legendary 18th century Queen's Dowry—40 chests of priceless treasure that was lost at sea in 1715. In his quest, Finn has sunk everything he has, including his marriage to Tess (Kate Hudson).
Just as Tess has begun to rebuild her life, working aboard a mega-yacht owned by billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland), Finn discovers a vital clue to the treasure's whereabouts. Much to Tess' consternation, Finn maneuvers himself aboard Nigel's yacht and, using his roguish charm, convinces the tycoon and his celebutante daughter, Gemma (Alexis Dziena), to join him in the pursuit of the Spanish riches. Even Tess can't resist the lure of finally uncovering the treasure that had eluded them for so long.”
A billionaire’s mega-yacht? A celebutante? Untold Spanish treasure that they couldn’t even bother to think up a good name for? They may as well have put a big sticker on the movie that says, ‘I am crap.’
Co-written and directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama), Fool’s Gold is some studio-engineered attempt to reunite the beachy blonde pairing of Hudson and McConaughey who cuted it up together in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But just because these two pretty people flirted and pratfell well once, doesn’t mean they can do it again—especially when they’re trying to do it with such a clunker of a script on their hands. It appears Tennant is going for a saucy, bickering Hepburn-Tracy thing with Hudson and McConaughey, but for the screen time they do share together there is virtually zero chemistry.
Despite the story issues, McConaughey and Hudson do a perfectly fine job in their parts—and why wouldn’t they? They are both totally typecast in their comfort zones. My casting questions are more in areas like, say, why cast Donald Sutherland as a British billionaire? I mean, after seeing him in Beerfest, it’s clear he’ll just take the paycheck, but why not, for example, get a real live English person? I hear there are a few of them around. But then again, why should that surprise me when they cast a SCOTTISH ACTOR (Ewan Bremner) as Finn’s UKRANIAN treasure hunting sidekick. He sounded like he’d eaten a box full of shoes before trying to deliver his lines. Oh, and throwing in Malcolm Jamal-Warner (a.k.a. Theo Huxtable) in a small part doesn’t distract me AT ALL.
But I think what’s most surprising about Fool’s Gold is how unself-aware of a movie it is. I mean, this is basically standard ‘80s adventure/comedy fare (albeit with a particularly cheesy script), and yet it seems more in love with itself than a shirtless McConaughey strutting his pecs on the beach. It’s fake to its core—from the bad makeup job on McConaughey’s treasure huntin’ tattoo to the numerous, prolonged stunt sequences. The movie just bored me—you don’t care about the story or the characters. Although I will say the one thing sit did make me want to do was take a nice vacation to the beach.
For all his romantic comedy background, you’d think Tennant would understand that simply referring to their formerly hot sex life a billion times doesn’t actually make the characters appear to want each other. It suddenly makes you appreciate the mastery of directors like Brett Ratner all the more—the Rush Hour series might not be a masterpiece, but at least I actually laugh when I watch them.