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Review: Fool’s Gold (2008)

Fool’s Gold (2008)

Directed by: Andy Tennant

Premise: A penniless fortune hunter (Matthew McConaughey) comes across a vital clue to an ancient treasure just as his estranged wife (Kate Hudson) comes to him seeking a divorce. They rejoin and team with a vacationing millionaire (Donald Sutherland) to discover the treasure before a local crime lord finds it.

What Works: The best elements of the film are the fighting and flirting between Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. These are possibly to two most underachieving stars in Hollywood; they have talent but waste more of it before 10 a.m. than most people waste all day. Their scenes together do have a sense of charisma and comic timing that is amusing to watch.

What Doesn’t: A lot of Fool’s Gold is just bearable. The story gets bogged down in protracted exposition scenes that make The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure seem straightforward and well researched by comparison. The characters talk and talk and talk without any visual references and a lot of it is meaningless chatter that just makes the film longer. A lot of the treasure hunt is not based on clues or detective work but on luck or coincidence. The story has a problem with suspense (it does not have any) and as the picture goes on the tension actually goes down instead of up. This happens mainly because the story does not put any pressure on the heroes to succeed and clues and supporting characters randomly pop up in places for no particular reason. The villains of the film are especially problematic. The crime boss and his goons are unthreatening racial stereotypes who parade around with guns but are too clownish to be credible antagonists to the heroes.

Bottom Line: Fool’s Gold is lazy filmmaking. The film has nothing to offer except for the banter between Hudson and McConaughey, but they’re less like Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen and more like liposuctioned versions of Al and Peg Bundy from Married with Children.

Episode: #190 (May 18, 2008)