Fool's Gold (2008, Warner Brothers) reunites Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, who first found chemistry together in the romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. While filmgoers found the attractive stars and lush scenery enough to draw them into the theater, critics didn't feel the same way: still, the film had some fun things going for it.
"Finn" Finnegan (Matthew McConaughey) is an undersea treasure hunter who can find treasure, talk people into backing his search, and well...sex. But regardless of the latter skill, Finn's wife, Tess (Kate Hudson), finally loses her patience with his obsession and divorces him. Finn, however, is convinced that he has located the Aurelia, a Spanish treasure galleon that sank in the early 18th century. Finn tracks down Tess and talks her new boss into funding the search. Together, Finn and Tess dodge gangsters, crooked mentors, and the dangers of the sea to find gold and almost lost love.
While Fool's Gold was originally supposed to be filmed in the Caribbean, the location was moved to Queensland, Australia because of fears of the hurricane season. The scenes that are supposed to be in Key West were actually filmed in Port Douglas. Some scenes were also filmed at Batt Reef, the area where Steve Irwin died from a stingray barb. Additional location shots were filmed in:
- The Gold Coast
- Hamilton Island
- Lizard Island
- Airlie Beach
After two crew members were stung by Irukandji jellyfish, a few water scenes were moved to the Caribbean because the actors were more afraid of a potential jellyfish injury than possible hurricanes.
Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson not only look great together on screen, they also bounce well off each other. Their pairing was so successful in their first film together, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, they were bound to team up again. The cast includes:
- Matthew McConaughey as Ben "Finn" Finnegan
- Kate Hudson as Tess Finnegan
- Donald Sutherland as Nigel Honeycutt
- Alexis Dziena as Gemma Honeycutt
- Ray Winstone as Moe Fitch
- Kevin Hart as Bigg Bunny Deenz
- Ewen Bremner as Alfonz
- Brian Hooks as Curtis
- Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Cordell
Audience Versus Critic Response
While Fool's Gold was a hit with moviegoers, ranking high at the box office in its opening weekend, it didn't fare the same with the critics. The movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes showed only 11 percent of critics gave it a positive review. They found it to be lacking in storyline and to be just an excuse to show its handsome star shirtless.
- Fool's Gold received an average review of 5.7 on a scale of 10. The reviewers were unimpressed with the plot and acting, continually comparing the film to Romancing the Stone.
- The New York Daily News noted the film was unmemorable with silly fights and too many long speeches. The reviewer did note Matthew McConaughey was fun to look at.
- Plugged In (from Focus on the Family) reviewers called the film on its sexiness, lack of story, and profanity.
- USA Today called the film "tarnished" and said it did not live up to the actors' abilities, awarding Fool's Gold a sad half star out of a possible 4.
- Rolling Stone offered that Fool's Gold could be the worst movie of 2008.
Trivia and Treasure
Fool's Gold may have flopped at the box office, but there is lots of interesting trivia about the production:
- Despite the poor reviews, Fool's Gold earned back nearly double its investment.
- "Moe Fitch" is based on the real life treasure hunter, Mel Fisher.
- Viewers can see mountains in some background shots, but Key West is a flat island.
- The yacht in the film costs $120,000 a week to charter.
- Moe's accent changes throughout the film.
The film audiences at Fool's Gold enjoyed seeing Matthew McConaughey shirtless and also enjoyed seeing McConaughey and Kate Hudson together again. Although no plans are in the works, viewers are hopeful the two stars will find success again together.