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Fool's Gold (PG-13) **

Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson are the divorcing spouses with hearts of gold.
Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson are the divorcing spouses with hearts of gold.

By Connie Ogle

Fool’s Gold isn’t so much a film as an opportunity to pay homage to Matthew McConaughey’s impressive physique. There’s more than enough to admire and plenty of time in which to admire it. As treasure hunter Ben ”Finn” Finnegan, McConaughey is shirtless through at least 50 percent of the movie, which drags on far too long despite that. He even gets a brief, albeit unrevealing, nude shot.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a little beefcake — in McConaughey’s case, nothing at all — but it’s hard to shake the suspicion that director Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) knows that his leading man’s pecs are the best thing about his film. Fool’s Gold is a crudely slapstick, often convoluted tribute to stupidity, about a divorcing couple (McConaughey and Kate Hudson) thrown together again in a frantic search for the treasure of a Spanish galleon in the Bahamas.

The joke is that Finn is not the brightest of bulbs; his ex, Tess, is allegedly the brains of the operation. If you find yourself skeptical of this set-up, you will not be alone. Finn has managed to infuriate his rap-mogul financer and must scam his way aboard a yacht on which Tess is working as a steward. The yacht is owned by a rich guy with a fake tan (Donald Sutherland). In yet another monument to the joys of being grossly intellectually challenged, his daughter (Alexis Dziena) is an idiot.

It takes Finn and Tess less time to solve the mystery of the shipwreck than it takes me to find my keys in the morning, and it’s also hard to swallow that someone wouldn’t already have tracked down these buried riches in the clear, shallow Bahamian seas. Still, the film offers up a couple of decent laughs, many of which involve Finn’s being clobbered with a heavy object, and McConaughey and Hudson, who starred in the chick flick How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, have an easy chemistry despite the goofy dialogue and even goofier action. McConaughey especially seems at ease with the role’s physicality, leaping good-naturedly into the ocean, throwing himself to and fro with humor and a great big grin. If only the film hadn’t bogged down in explanations — the story behind the shipwreck is so confusing most viewers won’t bother following it — and had wrapped itself up a bit sooner, Fool’s Gold might have been decent escapism. And you’d feel like less of a fool for paying to see it.

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