After viewing "Fool's Gold," the latest pairing of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, I find myself tempted to raise my rating of "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," their first film together.
In their first film, Hudson and McConaughey had a certain fun and workable chemistry that was believable even when the film itself faltered. However, in "Fool's Gold," Hudson and McConaughey seem to drown in the film's uneven combination of action and romantic comedy to such a degree that their pairing feels less authentic and, at times, downright forced.
"Fool's Gold" stars McConaughey as the treasure-seeking Finn, who finds more trouble than treasure, a fact that ended his marriage to Tess (Hudson). While out on yet another misadventure an accident leads to the sinking of his boat, but not before Finn believes he's discovered the location of a long sought Spanish Galleon.
Soon enough, however, Finn enchants a lonely millionaire (Donald Sutherland) and his airhead daughter (Alexis Dziena, "Broken Flowers") with his search for riches and the lot of them are off to search for the buried treasure. Of course, they will encounter obstacles along the way largely in the persons of Finn's primary competitor Moe (Ray Winstone, "The Proposition") and a two timin' gangsta' rapper named Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart).
If all of this sounds a bit convoluted for a romantic comedy, it doesn't begin to describe the experience of sitting through the film's expositional painful first hour, including a laughably confusing scene in which the entire scenario is laid out by Finn to such a point that even the cast looks confused at the story's goings on.
Had director Andy Tennant ("Hitch," "Fools Rush In") simply focused the film on being a lighthearted action adventure, "Fool's Gold" may very well be deserving of a modest recommendation. However, Tennant tries to bring back that old McConnaughey/Hudson chemistry and, in the process, nearly sabotages the film completely. Neither the film's romantic element nor the more secondary father/daughter storyline between Sutherland and Dziena are even remotely convincing, and by the time "Fool's Gold" becomes simply a light adventure in its final 30-45 minutes, the vast majority of audience members will already be looking at their watches, cell phones or the popcorn on the floor with more interest.
Hudson continues to improve as an actress, however, her film selection remains spotty at best. McConaughey's best role in recent years has been playing naked bongos, but his laid back persona and willingness to shed his shift onscreen keep him acting in films that don't require much beyond good looks and a smile.
The film's supporting cast doesn't fare much better than the leads, with Donald Sutherland's lonely millionaire mostly looking uncomfortable while both Dziena and Hart cross the line into caricaturish on multiple occasions.
As one could expect from a film this uneven, the tone in "Fool's Gold" bounces all over the place from romance to light comedy to a rather surprising degree of violence. While any of these elements may have been right at home in the film by themselves, Tennant never quite achieves a comfortable balance and too often the segue between tones is jarring at best.
Further weighed down by its ill-conceived production design and George Fenton's intrusive original score, "Fool's Gold" will have to depend upon the popularity of Hudson and McConaughey if it hopes to win its opening weekend box-office crown over the far superior Martin Lawrence led "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins." Once word gets around, however, "Fool's Gold" will be hard-pressed to reach the $100 million plus box-office of "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days."
While the latest McConaughey/Hudson pairing is far from worthless, you'd have to be a fool to find much gold in this tedious and lifeless cinematic outing.