Fool's Gold (2008) (PG-13) ★½

Review Date: February 8th, 2008

Fool's Gold is a disappointing second effort from rom-com darlings Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, despite the fact the two look so darn cute together.


Honestly, the most disappointing aspect is how plodding and, well, boring Fool's Gold is, considering it's a romantic action adventure about treasure hunting in the Florida Keys. How can you mess that up? In plenty of ways, it seems. The story introduces Ben "Finn" Finnegan (McConaughey), who has spent most of his surf-bum-turned-treasure-hunter life obsessed with finding a legendary 18th century Spanish treasure, lost at sea in 1715. So consumed, in fact, that he loses just about everything, including his marriage to the lovely history buff Tess (Hudson). But on the day their divorce is final, Finn tells Tess he may have finally found what they've both been searching for. All he needs is money and a boat. Luckily, Tess is currently working as a steward on a yacht owned by the kindly billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland), and Finn convinces the lackadaisical Nigel to go on a treasure hunt. Tess isn't pleased, at first, but then her passion for history and discovery--and, eventually, her ex--is rekindled. Of course, others want the treasure, too--including a rapper--so there's the obligatory race to get the booty. Yo-Ho-Ho hum.


It's really a shame Hudson and McConaughey didn't click as well as they did in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. You watch their characters in Fool's Gold--all tanned and buff and clearly still in love with each other, even though they won't admit it--and you want the magic to work again. You really do. But alas, the script whittles whatever chemistry they have down to basically nothing. McConaughey is pretty much playing the same screw-up he played in Sahara, while Hudson gets little to do besides boringly reading from 18th century diaries on the whereabouts of the treasure. Sutherland looks pretty uninterested, as well, and Ray Winstone (Beowulf), as the rival treasure hunter, has about two lines in the whole thing. The only spark plug in the bunch is Alexis Dziena (Broken Flowers) as Nigel's ditzy, BlackBerry-obsessed daughter looking for daddy's love. At least someone should have some fun frolicking in the Caribbean.


Writer/director Andy Tennant should have known better--shame on him. He knows what a successful romantic comedy should do, having helmed Hitch and Sweet Home Alabama. But instead he takes a perfectly good premise, full of action-adventure potential, and pisses it away. Unlike, say, a National Treasure-type film, Fool's Gold is a dull journey to the loot, with long expository scenes explaining the history behind the treasure and the people who wielded it and very little oomph elsewhere. Most of the action comes at the end, when the treasure is close at hand, but by that time we don't care so much. The one thing Fool's Gold does have going for it is the gorgeous scenery, with Queensland, Australia, posing at the Caribbean. It makes you want to chuck it all and live on a tropical island, so in that regard, Fool's Gold touches upon some of that fun escapism you'd expect from a film of this nature. It's nice to find something at least a little positive about the movie, isn't it?

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.