Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Fool's Gold

Some nuggets, but it's no tale from Hollywood's golden age

Kate Hudson in Fools Gold
Fools Gold

It's not exactly Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, but the celluloid coupling of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey might just raise a few laughs, even if they are no Hepburn and Tracy says Noel McAdam

Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Ray Winstone

After Bogie and Bacall, Burton and Taylor, Hepburn and Tracy come ... McConaughey and Hudson?

Reunited for the first time since How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Matt and Kate have a long way to go to reach legendary couple status.

McConaughey remains a bit of a mystery onto himself. Tumbling at a rate of knots from one project to the next, it's hard to get a handle on M-and-M even after all these years.

Though he's made a fine fist of a wide range of roles from A Time to Kill right up to Wedding Planner and Sahara, McConaughey has never quite stayed on the Hollywood A-list.

He's a tryer, but the problem is he can be a little trying also. In this latest he gets hit on the head more times than the average toddler and you half-think he deserves it.

There is no shortage of fools in director Andy Tennant's rollicking all-at-sea love story, but very little in the way of cinematic gold.

This is the sort of movie which can't quite make up its mind what it wants to be when it grows up, so it starts out in firm rom-com territory and gradually morphs into a fairly ludicrous buried treasure adventure.

McConaughey plays the sort of husband whose uselessness is epic. So says his ex-wife Hudson. He's even late for his own divorce hearing — although, speaking as a man myself, you understand, he has a good excuse.

A dapper Donald Sutherland gives us the same sort of benign trillionaire he is currently starring as in Channel Four's Dirty Sexy Money, except his British accent verges on the brutal.

More difficult still to understand is Winstone's involvement as a kind of hard man of the high seas, except as a chance for a half-decent half-holiday. Location, location, eh, Ray?

Same goes for Ewen Bremner, last seen in the dreadful Death at a Funeral but still best remembered for Trainspotting. He turns up as an obsessive best friend who ends up getting the other girl (Alexis Dzenia).

Only Hudson emerges relatively unscathed. Unlike McConaughey, Kate is on a run of fair-to-middling movies since Almost Famous and the more recent You, Me and Dupree with Owen Wilson.

And she has acquitted and developed the awkward believability and winning charm of her mother, Goldie Hawn.

Though it starts out cutesy and fluffy and about the sort of people you hope you never become, the back story of history-changing artefacts gradually comes to the fore and aft.

Booty calls. Hunter Ben (McConaughey) is obsessed with locating the 380-year-old Spanish Queen's Dowry.

While the soundtrack includes the joyous Bob Marley and the principals manage a good chemistry, the convulted plot can't quite prevent the movie title turning out to be more apt than it meant to be.

That said, I have always had a penchant for a good, tense underwater fights, particularly if harpoons are involved.

As a writer and director Tennant has strong 'rom' if not quite 'com' credentials, stretching back to the awful Olsen twins with Kirstie Allie in It Takes Two in 1995, Drew Barrymore's 'real' story of Cinderella called Ever After, through runaway wife Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama and Will Smith's dating movie Hitch. Though his last venture, The Wedding Album, ended up only on US telly, he's back on the Big Screen but perhaps throws too much into the mix, adding one of those oddly-named rappers as the villain.

Despite some funny lines and good action sequences this is something of a shipwreck.

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