Don’t suffer these fools
FOOLS GOLD Directed by Andy Tennant. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Alexis Dziena, Ray Winstone
12A cert, gen release, 113 min THE LAST thing you want to encounter when you’re feeling miserable is a bunch of people conspicuously having a whale of time. That sense of resentment is heightened when the revellers – let’s call them Kate, Matt and Donald – were the cause of your unhappiness in the first place.
Just look at them scuba diving, knocking back champagne and sunning themselves on cabin cruisers. Are you enjoying yourselves, you layabouts? Because we’re not. We’re watching your
godawful adventure comedy with its feeble plot, moronic dialogue and borderline-racist stereotypes. The least you could have done is pretend you did a bit of work while engineering our misery.
McConaughey, that huge tower of dead cells, turns up as a reckless adventurer who believes he has located a sunken galleon some short distance off the coast of Florida. Hudson, playing Matt’s estranged wife, is sceptical at first, but, because the film requires it, soon becomes persuaded that his claims deserve investigation. They are assisted by Sutherland’s English billionaire and by his vacuous hyper-Hilton of a daughter. Ray Winstone’s unconvincingly southern salvage operator and his associates from the world of rap music set out to thwart their schemes.
One gets the sense that the producers know that the stars don’t have the charisma to carry the film. Why else would they pack the story with dozens of appallingly broad – and occasionally offensive – single-gag comedy sidekicks? Former kid Malcolm-Jamal Warner turns up as one of several moronically violent AfricanAmerican hoodlums. Winstone wears a silly shirt and speaks like Foghorn Leghorn. Two chefs seek laughter by behaving in a blatantly homosexual fashion. Ewen Bremner’s character reminds us that East Europeans are stupid and sleazy. Donald Sutherland doesn’t actually don monocle and bowler hat to play his comical posh Englishman, but it must, surely, have been a close run thing.
None of this playfully racist absurdity succeeds in distracting from the grindingly pedestrian script and the thinness of the central premise.
Mind you, the occasional surges of anger that the film inspires – Ha! Ha! The Ukrainian character expects his host to offer prostitutes after dinner – should just about keep you awake despite the protracted running time.