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Foolís Gold

All That Shines Isnít

Fool's Gold, directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama, Ever After) and starring the ubiquitous Matthew McConaughey and the less ubiquitous Kate Hudson is, sadly, a romantic comedy/adventure with little romance, even less comedy, and action/adventure that will leave most moviegoers bored at John Claflin and Daniel Zelmanís long-on-promise, short-on delivery screenplay.

Ben "Finn" Finnegan (an often shirtless Matthew McConaughey), a down-on-his-luck treasure hunter, thinks heís finally found a long-lost, Spanish treasure ship, the Aurelia, lost off the coast of Florida in 1715. Finnegan doesnít get far before losing his boat, his partner, Alfonz (Ewen Bremner), and his financial backer, Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart), a wealthy rapper living the thug life on his own private island who doesnít buy Finneganís story. In the hole for more than sixty thousand dollars to Bigg Bunny, Finnegan asks for more time and more money. Instead, he gets a one-way ride to the middle of the ocean, courtesy of Bigg Bunnyís stumbling, bumbling henchmen, Cordell (Brian Cook) and Curtis (Malcolm-Jamal Warner).

A narrow escape later, Finnegan arrives in Key West, Florida for his divorce hearing. He arrives too late. His now ex-wife, Tess (Kate Hudson), still pines for him, but has come to the bitter realization that heíll never become the stable, dependable husband she wants and thinks she needs. Tess works as a steward aboard a yacht owned by the wealthy Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland). Honeycutt is waiting on the arrival of his daughter, Gemma (Alexis Dziena), a pampered, bratty, Paris Hilton type only interested in her fatherís money. After Finnegan rescues Gemma (actually he saves her favorite hat), he meets Honeycutt and convinces him to finance the search for the Aurelia, but soon discovers that Bigg Bunny has hired his old mentor, Moe Fitch (Ray Winstone), to find the ship first.

With a predictably banal, unoriginal story, contrived plot turns and twists, one-dimensional characters, flat attempts at verbal or physical humor, and an overemphatic score by George Fenton, Fool's Gold has little going for it, except for the occasional flashes of humor (too infrequent), the unsurprisingly beautiful locales and McConaughey and Hudsonís onscreen chemistry and comic timing. Without their chemistry, Fool's Gold would have been an even bigger chore to sit through than it already is.

As Tess, Kate Hudson is tanned perkiness incarnate. She delivers her one-liners (such as they are) energetically, obviously convinced of their potential for humor. McConaughey is McConaughey: the same softhearted, fast-talking lunkhead heís essayed countless times before. Not surprisingly, McConaughey runs around shirtless, waving his bronzed, oiled pecs, tousled, sun-bleached hair, and unnaturally white teeth at Hudsonís character in an effort to woo her back. It works in the film, but nowhere else. But wait, there's another reason why Fool's Gold sinks under the weight of its own mediocrity: gender orientation and racial stereotyping.

Unfortunately, gay characters whose only purpose is to provide comic relief have become de rigueur in Hollywood. Fool's Gold ups the humor quotient by including not one, but two gay characters, Eddie (Michael Mulheren) and Gary (Adam LeFevre), life partners and traveling chefs for the idly rich Honeycutt. And while we're talking about stereotypes, we shouldnít forget Bigg Bunny, and his bumbling henchmen Cordell and Curtis. These stereotypes alone make Fool's Gold one treasure hunt not worth going on.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars