A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that with its likable, attractive stars -- Kate Hudson and the perpetually shirtless Matthew McConaughey (previously paired in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) -- this romantic comedy is likely to appeal to teen girls and women in search of a little eye candy. But it isn't just a romantic comedy, it's also a treasure-hunting adventure that features a few unexpectedly violent scenes. In fact, there's more violence than romance, which is limited to a couple of scenes of passionate kissing. There's also some language ("s--t," "bitch") and drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
By romantic comedy standards, FOOL's GOLD is actually more of a treasure-hunting action/adventure. Matthew McConaughey plays Finn, a laid-back surfer dude obsessed with finding a buried Spanish treasure off the coast of the Florida Keys. To do so, he has to get rich (and, in some cases, dangerous) patrons to fund his expeditions. Meanwhile, his estranged wife, Tess (Kate Hudson), an amateur historian with academic ambitions, is sick of the endless hunt and is about to divorce her irresponsible, narrow-sighted husband. The two collide when Finn manages to gain access to the yacht belonging to Tess' employer, Nigel (Donald Sutherland), a multi-millionaire with a shallow, tabloid-fodder daughter (Alexis Dziena). Using Nigel's money and equipment, the almost-exes go on one last mission to find the gold -- if someone else doesn't get there first.
Is it any good?
McConaughey and Hudson reuniting isn't surprising, given their successful 2003 romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; what's unexpected is how little chemistry they have here. The romantic electricity evident in the best romantic comedies is nowhere to be found. (Even anti-beefcake Billy Crystal was much more romantic in When Harry Met Sally.) Instead, there are blatant, near-constant references to Finn's "raw sexuality," his "genius" at three things ("treasure hunting, finding money for treasure hunting and, um, well, you know"), and other obvious innuendos.
Speaking of McConaughey's body, it should have received separate billing in the end credits. There are more shirtless scenes than not, making him one of the few leading men comfortable with emphasizing his physique over his talent as the main reason for his bankability. After the eighth or ninth scene of his tan shoulders, you start to wonder whether there's any purpose to this film other than to be one long eye-candy shot for swooning women. That kind of (over)exposure proves distracting in both actresses and actors, and it diminishes this already-thin film to the level of thoughtless date-night fluff.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kind of movie this is -- a romantic comedy or an action/adventure. What do you expect from each kind of movie? What parts of the film "match" with each genre? Is the emphasis on McConaughey's body -- instead of Hudson's -- a departure from most romantic comedies? What does that say about who the filmmakers are trying to target? Kids: If you had made this movie, would you have included as much violence and as little romance? Why?
- In theaters: February 7, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2008
- Cast: Donald Sutherland, Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey
- Director: Andy Tennant
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: action violence, some sexual material, brief nudity and language.