Hello, I’m Rebecca, and I can’t go a month without needing a romantic comedy fix. There, I said it. Call me a fool for loving romantic comedies, but I’m drawn to them like a duck to water. The rom com world is filled with fluffy, feel-good films that have little or no lasting impact on our lives and serve only as temporary escapism into a fantasy land of pleasant people falling in love. It’s a given the ending will be a happy one with the leads waltzing off into the sunset holding hands and making goo-goo eyes at one another. What’s not to like? They’re sappy, silly, time-wasters, but they’re also strangely addictive.
Occasionally the genre will even sneak in a movie that’s above and beyond the norm – Love Actually
, Knocked Up
, and When Harry Met Sally
come to mind – but for the most part the genre’s loaded with fun but forgettable fare. Unfortunately, the romantic comedy world also has more than its share of real stinkers. A brand new one of those was just added to the pot with Fool’s Gold
Ben ‘Finn’ Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey) loves treasure hunting. In fact, he loves treasure hunting so much he risks everything he owns in order to seek out long-lost gold buried under the sea. He once had a wife, Tess (Kate Hudson), who loved searching for riches with him, but she lost both the desire to find sunken treasure and the desire to wake up next to Finn’s golden, ripped abs. No matter, Finn forges on despite being in debt up to his earlobes to rapper-loan shark-all around bad guy Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart).
Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in Fool's Gold.© Warner Bros Pictures
Finn, equally as unlucky at searching for gold as he is in love, can’t come up with the money to pay off the Bunny Man. Yet that doesn’t stop him from trying to hunt down what’s been lost for centuries. When a piece of The Queen’s Dowry (the ultimate pot of gold for fortune hunters) literally floats into his hands, Finn knows he’s onto something. All he needs to finally discover the whereabouts of the treasure is his ex-wife’s help and her millionaire boss’ big boat and bankroll. Of course Tess and millionaire Nigel (Donald Sutherland) will just have
to sign on to his plan after he flashes those pearly whites and turns on the charm. And showing lots of skin also helps sell his case - or maybe not. That’s probably just for the benefit of the audience.
But Finn, his best buddy and diving partner Alfonz (Ewen Bremner), and the rest of the motley crew aren’t the only ones out for gold. Finn’s mentor, Moe (Ray Winstone), wants it for his own as does Bigg Bunny. And word apparently doesn’t reach Bunny and his thugs that they’re in a romantic comedy because they actually try to kill people!
Matthew McConaughey gets his butt kicked multiple times in Fool’s Gold, with the worst beating delivered by the script and not his onscreen enemies. The plot is convoluted and confusing, and McConaughey’s left to try and pick up the pieces by gamely taking some lumps and – as mentioned before – showing off his tanned and handsome body.
Kate Hudson doesn’t get that much to do, other than look cute. Tess isn’t much of a character but rather a female love interest grabbed not fully formed from Column B of the romantic comedy handbook.
The Bottom Line
The bad guys repeatedly try to kill our heroes but it’s all for laughs, right? One murder attempt might be okay in a romantic comedy world, but Fool’s Gold really pushes the violence level way out of proportion. It also pushes our level of tolerance for exposition. Fool’s Gold comes to a complete stop as the characters plop themselves down for a lengthy discourse on where the treasure came from, who sent it out to sea, whose ship it was on, why it was there, where it was going, the weather conditions during the voyage, the geography of the land, and the color of the captain’s underwear. That last bit of info wasn’t actually included but might as well have been for all the good the rest of the explanation did in clueing the audience in on the location of the treasure. It feels like hours, even days, have passed by the time this information dump concludes.
Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in Fool's Gold.© Warner Bros Pictures
For those who do succeed in following at least some of the history of The Queen’s Dowry, it’s quickly evident that the aforementioned explanation leads to major plot problems having to do with continuity. The location where Finn found the plate that set him off on this grand adventure doesn’t make sense, and that’s just one of the film’s many problems. And, seriously, the ultimate location of the treasure is just ridiculous. Someone over the course of 300-odd years would have stumbled across this buried loot long, long before Finn and Tess seek out their fortune.
The underwater scenes are done well, but don’t sell that sense of adventure you'd expect the characters to feel while chasing down millions – maybe even billions – in treasure. The time spent on land also lacks the thrill of the hunt. Combine that with the absence of any truly funny scenes and Fool’s Gold is one 'treasure' better left buried.
Fool's Gold was directed by Andy Tennant and is rated PG-13 for action violence, some sexual material, brief nudity and language.
Theatrical Release Date: February 8, 2008