Monday, March 31, 2008

Fool’s Gold / **½ (PG-13)

Benjamin Finnegan: Matthew McConaughey
Tess Finnegan: Kate Hudson
Nigel Honeycutt: Donald Sutherland
Gemma Honeycutt: Alexis Dziena
Alfonz: Ewen Bremner
Moe Fitch: Ray Winstone
Bigg Bunny: Kevin Hart
Curtis: Brian Hooks
Cordell: Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film directed by Andy Tennant. Written by John Clafin & Daniel Zelman and Andy Tennant. Running time: 113 min. Rated PG-13 (for action violence, some sexual material, brief nudity and language).

Watching “Fool’s Gold”, I was reminded of my younger days. My wife Angie and I had first met and were spending most of our time in the Caribbean, hunting treasure from lost Spanish galleons. Yes, we were adventurers, just like Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in this film. I was cut, muscular and scraggly looking. Ang looked smoking in a two-piece. Still does. Sure, we often got involved with some unsavory characters, and I got roughed up a couple of times. I’ve been hit in the head with a shovel more once—sometimes by Ang.

Back then, we threw caution to the wind. Well, I did anyway. I think Angie mainly kept me from killing myself. She certainly got sick of doing that, I can tell you. That time I got into debt with a rap mogul, just like the ridiculously named creep Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart, “Scary Movie 4”) in this film who gets McCaughney’s character into hawk, and forces him to find a famous lost treasure known as The Queen’s Dowry… Well, anyway, when that happened to me, I would have been dead without Angie’s brains and research skills to help me find our treasure. Don’t let her try to tell you that history degree of hers never did her any good.

And to think we almost split up just days before that, again just like McCaunghey and Hudson (last paired up in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”). They play Finn and Tess, and while they do seem to be a pretty good match for each other, they don’t take the opportunity to express their passion for each other in the same way Ang and I do. We revel in our time together; they spend most of their time avoiding each other. Yes, we’ve been through our rough patches, but I certainly never tried to impress a rich brainless brat named Gemma (Alexis Dziena, “Broken Flowers”) just so I could get a chance to convince her millionaire father (Donald Sutherland, “Reign Over Me”) to finance my search. That’s what a movie slacker who’s really a good guy might do. But I’m always straightforward in my business dealings—and marriage.

I have been known to hang around with skinny Ukrainians for a good dose of comic relief, just like Finn and his partner Alfonz (Ewen Bremner, “Death at a Funeral”). But I’ve never had the millionaire’s bimbo daughter upstage the whole adventure with her charming lack of wit. And anytime I’ve found myself searching for the same treasure as a former mentor with whom I’ve had a falling out, the grudge usually sticks. I’ve had much more stress on a job when the former mentor involved is less forgiving than Finn’s nemesis, Moe Fitch (Ray Winstone, “Beowulf”). I’m sure if I had ever sabotaged one of my foe’s sites by de-rigging all his explosives, he would’ve killed me. And I’m certain that, despite the similarity in muscle structure and tone between me and McConaughey, a dynamite blast big enough to launch me out of the water from the ocean floor would’ve killed me as well.

In fact, I would say none of the criminals in this movie are quite as vicious or cruel as the ones I’ve crossed paths during my adventures. The guys in this movie are just a little too incompetent to have achieved the reputations and success they have. But I suppose the danger of these types of adventures isn’t supposed to overshadow the fun to be had for someone like me. And boy, oh boy, were those days a lot of fun—as is much of “Fool’s Gold”. I don’t remember our crazy sea travels ever slowing down to allow for quite so much self analysis and realization. Things are never slow for a real life treasure hunter. Trust me.

You know what’s really odd though? When we were watching the final struggle between Finn, Tess and Bunny, where Finn jumps onto a moving sea plane from a jet ski to save Tess, Angie turns to me and says, “You would do that for me, right?” What?! I did do that! How could she forget that? It was almost exactly the same as that time when she was taken hostage and I subdued her captor. I took the controls of the plane and brought it down much better than Finn does here. But then, of course she doesn’t remember it; she was unconscious because he had pistol whipped her. Ah, good times.

Note: Some of the events described in this article may have been exaggerated for dramatic effect.

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