Case Number 13866


Warner Bros. // 2008 // 112 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 19th, 2008

The Charge

A thrilling treasure hunt. Romantic intrigue. Exotic locales. Is this any way to save a divorce?

Opening Statement

When you're dealing with a crappy romantic adventure named Fool's Gold, the witty Opening Statements kinds of write themselves, so take this opportunity to make your own!

Facts of the Case

Buff treasure hunter and professional slacker Finn (Matthew McConaughey, Sahara) finds himself in a world of trouble when a quest for a long-lost Spanish fortune hits a snag and he finds himself in the bad graces of a pissed-off hip-hop star and his gun-toting cronies (huh?). He manages to barely squeeze out of one jam and quickly reunites with his estranged wife Tess (Kate Hudson), a fellow treasure nut and manages to convince her to accompany him on a newly launched treasure hunt, this time with the help of a genteel billionaire (Donald Sutherland, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and his spoiled, idiot daughter.

So the race is on, with Tess and Finn competing against a rival treasure hunter (Ray Winstone, Beowulf) and the aforementioned hip-hop heavy, as well as the inherent dangers that come with monkeying around dangerous crevasses and water-filled treasure keeps.

The Evidence

What a boring, corny mess this movie is. Unfunny humor, forced romance, contrived action, sun, and surf -- -Fool's Gold really was better when it was called Six Days Seven Nights and since that movie pretty much sucked, you should have an idea how I feel about this latest treasure-hunting-action-adventure-romantic-comedy-kitchen-sink extravaganza.

Now McConaughey and Hudson are charismatic actors, and on paper it likely appeared that their pairing would yield primo chemistry, but you know what else was on paper? The script; and the limp writing devours completely any hope that these two would emerge unscathed from this flaming boat collision. Pitched as a comedy-adventure, Fool's Gold just doesn't have a strong enough comedy half to make the film worth seeing. Even the adventure counterpart -- the more robust of the two -- is lacking, but because there's nary a laugh to be had between the credits sequences, it proves to be a mortal wound to the entertainment potential. McConaughey tries his best to salvage the flat writing, but no amount of wild facial contortions and aggressively "funny" (you know, BOINK BOINK BA-BOINK) background music can save him. Hudson basically makes fun of McConaughey and Ray Winstone is totally wasted in his role. Alexis Dziena, as the spoiled brat Paris Hilton character is tossed in for some cheap "airhead" laughs which grow stale almost immediately, yet continue on and on and on until, to my horror, they become a melodramatic plot point, where Tess does her best to boost the young lady's self-esteem and reconcile her to her exasperated father. The only character that was able to elicit a chortle was Token Eastern European Horny Man (Ewen Bremner).

While the humor is D.O.A., the action has at least a pulse, which weakens drastically in the bloated, exposition-heavy middle. Before our heroes start exchanging gunfire and hauling up buckets of Spanish gold, they have to inform the audience about the back story and unfortunately they do so in an endless, excruciating sequence aboard the boat as Tess and Finn blubber on and on about the ship and the captain and this and that and really I zoned out so that's all I've got. Apparently the story was compelling enough to get everyone excited about hunting down the treasure and after some digging and diving and squabbling and punching...well, without spoiling whether they find the loot, the film ends with a half-decent action sequence, regrettably besmirched by another punchy, unfunny exchange between Tess and Finn. Really, this moderate slice of mayhem is the only thing salvageable -- so to speak -- from this deep-sea wreck.

Worse, the normally reliable Warner Brothers put out a lacking Blu-ray release. For a film rich with seaside scenery, you'd think the picture quality of Fool's Gold would be a slam dunk. Not so. The video transfer is soft, the color levels lack punch and the clarity is not much stronger when compared to an upconverted DVD. A straight 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, while active, will likely disappoint Blu fans that have come to expect lossless audio. Extras: a syrupy behind-the-scenes with McConaughey and Hudson fawning all over each other and a gag-free gag reel.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

A quick note to parents: if you plan on subjecting your kids to this crap, be advised there's a breast flash early on.

Closing Statement

Plodding from start to finish and devoid of anything even resembling wit and charm, Fool's Gold has the luster of something entertaining, but take the title as a warning, for what lurks beneath is worthless.

The Verdict

Guilty. Bury this and burn the map.

Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 85
Extras: 75
Acting: 50
Story: 60
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 112 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Behind the Scenes
* Gag Reel

* IMDb