Review: Fool’s Gold

The forgettable Fool’s Gold is the near-definition of mechanically going through the motions.

Fool’s Gold
Photo: Warner Bros.

A trifling slice of winter season counter-programming, Fool’s Gold follows Matthew McConaughey’s irresponsible treasure hunter Finn as he searches for historical treasure with ex-wife Tess (Kate Hudson) in the glistening Caribbean. The warm weather locale provides ample opportunity for McConaughey to exhibit his ab-tastic physique and Hudson to show off her skinny bod in next to nothing, pleasant sights that go some way toward offsetting the general inanity and humorlessness of Andy Tenant’s romantic adventure. Tenant’s breezy film is a reunion for McConaughey and Hudson after 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and as in that outing, there’s little chemistry between the stars, though they do continue to share photogenic faces and a fondness for (but not necessarily aptitude at) goofy physical comedy. On the day Tess finalizes her divorce with Finn, he discovers a new clue to the 18th-century Spanish treasure the duo have long searched for, and soon thereafter he convinces billionaire Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland)—on whose yacht destitute Tess currently works as a servant—to help fund his expedition. Myriad characters and subplots soon follow, including Nigel’s relationship with his tabloid-magnet daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena), a couple of bickering gay cooks aboard Nigel’s boat, a hip-hop crime boss named Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) to whom Finn owes money, and Finn’s mentor Mo (Ray Winstone), who’s hired by Bigg Bunny to find the treasure first. “It’s complex, but not in a good way,” says Tess, and that about sums up the over-crowded story, which wastes time on its peripheral narrative strands primarily as a way to justify spending part of the production’s budget on big-name actors like Sutherland and Winstone for minor, dull supporting roles. McConaughey, once again doing his charmingly cheery, immature doofus routine, pratfalls away and takes multiple blows to the face, while Hudson, when not delivering one of countless lame one-liners, makes recurring, semi-embarrassed reference to that carnal “thing” Finn does oh so well. For all the talk about Finn’s astounding sexual prowess, however, the forgettable Fool’s Gold is the near-definition of mechanically going through the motions.

 Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Donald Sutherland, Ewen Bremner, Alexis Dziena, Brian Hooks, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Ray Winstone  Director: Andy Tennant  Screenwriter: John Claflin, Daniel Zelman, Andy Tennant  Distributor: Warner Bros.  Running Time: 112 min  Rating: PG-13  Year: 2008  Buy: Video

Nick Schager

Nick Schager is the entertainment critic for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in Variety, Esquire, The Village Voice, and other publications.

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