Fools Gold is an entertaining cocktail of the Pirates movies, Cameron Diazs dizzy-headed The Holiday and the gold-lust of National Treasure. Kate Hudson takes the lead role of the brilliant blonde all twelve-year-old girls would like to grow up to be, and her nice chemistry with Matthew McConaughey recalls some of her mother Goldie Hawns more knockabout performances.
Hudson plays Tess Finnegan, a history PhD student lured away into treasure hunting and marriage by the buff charms of Ben (Matthew McConaughey). But years of fruitless searching have left them on the verge of a divorce until an explosion leads Ben to half a broken plate stamped with the seal of the Spanish aristocracy. The pair embark on a knockabout hunt to find the treasure in a beautiful Caribbean setting. We know where its going from the start, of course, but there are a fair few surprising stunts and scrapes to get through before the end.
Donald Sutherland puts in a charming if thin role as their billionaire patron; but stealing the show is Alexis Dziena (in one of her first headline roles). Playing Sutherlands large-walleted but empty-headed daughter Gemma, she fixes the expression of a earnest but permanently stunned gerbil without a shred of gorm. A brief subplot between the two about their estrangement serves to offset the gold-lust of main the story: it seems money cant buy you love.
The pair are dogged by a bling-obsessed treasure-hunting rap artist called Bigg Bunny (Two Gs, as he remarks, in a wittier line). Its borderline racist and the film stubbornly refuses to give either him of his inept henchmen any kind of redemption before sinking, shooting or harpooning them.
The Dan Brown aspect of the plot is thoroughly incomprehensible, involving an intricate back-story about Spanish gold and honourable lying captains. Initially, the film revels in this, in a merry exposition scene that leaves the audience as confused as the empty-headed Gemma. But when a series of clues leads the pair finally to the treasure its a shame were still scratching our heads.
The best comedy is slapstick from a rather brilliant background joke in the teaser that it would be a shame to spoil to the safe landing of a plane at the climax, and a recurring joke about being hit in the face by a succession of different objects. That said, it sometimes veers into the brutal, particularly towards the end: a geyser of blood seems a bit much for a romantic comedy, and the repeated near-drowning of Hudson is much scarier than it needs to be.
Rather less successful is the banter: although McConaugheys befuddled expression is good fun (modelled on Depps Caribbean role that presumably paved the way for this one getting made), Hudsons one-liners tend to fall flat and are likely to satisfy only the twelve-year-old crowd.
Its daft froth, but for a film called Fools Gold it would seem redundant to complain that its glossy but ultimately superficial. The film does exactly as it promises an undemanding splash of sparkly sunshine for a dingy April, that will certainly be forgotten come summer. And its a much more entertaining trip than The Holiday.