You know what happens when you put cotton candy in water? The same thing as when you put Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in another sugary fluff romance comedy—it / they dissolve(s) into thin air. First off, there’s almost no actor in Fool’s Gold, with the possible exception of Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who’s worthy of this degree of banality or contrived drivel. And, Mr. Warner only because if he was willing to take a ridiculous role like this requiring him to issue the most pathetic, fake Jamaican accent of all time, then, well, he deserves what he got. Second, Mr. McConaughey could be a legendary actor if he’d stick to dramas. It might be fun to hang out on boats, be barefoot and shirtless all the time, but there’s literally no comparing the outstanding nature of his role in the highly overlooked We Are Marshall to his role in this film. He really is an incredibly talented actor. He should leave roles like these to Paul Walker—wait…wasn’t Paul Walker the guy from Into the Blue about a surfer dude treasure hunter who keeps letting his girl down by getting involved with the wrong types of guys to get loans for equipment to hunt amazing treasure? Déjà Vu? As in Fool’s Gold is virtually the same plot only Kate Hudson subs for Jessica Alba. Speaking of Kate Hudson, she cannot seem to catch a break outside of the derivative romantic comedy genre. She needs to talk to Demi Moore about getting a complete make-over and do a feisty, sexy, evil villain serial killer role to break out of this. As for Donald Sutherland’s appearance there’s no excuse—he just should have said “Pass” on this one unless he really is attempting to break John Wayne’s record for being in the most movies of all time. Literally, though, no record could be worth this humiliation.
The story, which, honestly does seem ‘lifted’ straight from Into the Blue, has Kate Hudson playing Tess Finnegan, the soon-to-be-divorced wife of Benjamin Finnegan (McConaughey). He’s off hunting treasure with his Ukranian sidekick Alfonz (Ewen Bremner) when their boat accidentally catches fire and sinks and the uprooting of sediment sends them the gift of a shard from a china plate Finn is sure comes from the Aurelia, the ship carrying King Philip’s Queen’s Dowery that sank off the coast of Florida during a hurricane in the late 1700s. Tess is now employed as a steward on the yacht of Nigel (Donald Sutherland) Honeycutt, one of the world’s richest men. When the loan shark and rap artist Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) learns that Finn has lost all of his investment money during the ship-sinking fiasco, he orders Finn sunken at sea. Finn gets away and gets rescued just 60 seconds shy of arriving at his divorce proceedings in Key West in time to prevent Tess from getting everything.
…dissolves like cotton candy in sea water…
He tries to convince her that he’s found the Aurelia, but she doesn’t believe him and is furious he’s lost their boat—the proceeds of which she was going to use to go to grad school. Needlessly convoluted, the plot then sweeps in the direction of Finn seeking to get Nigel to fund his expedition and Tess knowing this is going to happen doing everything she can to convince Nigel to move his boat to a different port. Unfortunately, the arrival of Nigel’s Paris Hilton-esque daughter, Gemma (Alexis Dziena) forces him to order the captain to stay put for her helicopter arrival. You can predict just about everything that happens next except where the treasure is, maybe, unless you are very clever and know your pirate lore.
Fool’s Gold is neither very funny nor romantic. Therefore the label ‘romantic comedy’ hardly fits. It does bare a lot of resemblance to the sort of corny, cheese-fest treasure hunting films that followed the success of 1963’s It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World-with bumbling bad guys and gleaming white-toothed heroes and heroines. Director Andy Tennant has pushed no boundaries delivering a routing, mundane, hermetically-sealed film that might have performed well at the box office and piqued the curiosity of Hudson/ McConaughey fans 10 or 12 years ago but not now. Unless one is looking for a film with the mental effect of cotton candy, there are still Oscar®-nominated films playing in most multi-plexes or fine independent films reaching indie theaters in most areas of the country.