Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Blue Crush

Posted By on Wed, Aug 21, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Just about the only worthwhile line of dialogue in Blue Crush comes early in the film, hurtling toward heroine Anne Marie with all the sting of a Lake Michigan tsunami: “I thought this was a surfing contest, not a drowning contest.” Truer words could not be spoken about this pathetic excuse for fun under the cheesy sun.

Former longboard queen Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) makes her living cleaning up other people’s messes at a local hotel. She gets the chance to claw back to the top of the surfing circuit, but that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has the unfortunate timing to arrive just as she’s shacking up with a vacationing NFL quarterback (Matthew Davis of Legally Blonde) who once attended law school with Reese Witherspoon. There’s a hint of a subplot involving Anne Marie’s disintegrating relationship with an unruly younger sister, but that’s conveniently forgotten right about the time li’l sis gives Boogie board lessons to a 300-lb. lineman. So much for character depth.

There’s an unwritten rule about summer movies that involve Disney Channel-caliber plots and bikini-clad 20-somethings: They’re supposed to be bad in a good way. Nobody goes to a movie like this expecting to discover the answer to life or the molecular structure of Twinkies, but there’s a certain amount of give and take involved. You give your money to the box office, and they give you a ticket; you give your precious time to the movie’s creators, and they give you 90 minutes worth of entertainment. Blue Crush doesn’t even bother sugarcoating its thin characterizations and one-dimensional plot with entertaining dialogue, instead devoting most of its running time to surf footage backed by a sound track MTV’s “TRL” would be embarrassed to air.

Even the term “footage” is a misnomer, since that implies that a cameraman actually set up shop on a remote Hawaiian beach and recorded a couple of stunt doubles getting their surf on. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single frame of live footage in Blue Crush — every second of every surfing sequence looks like it was ripped from a Playstation2. Video-game graphics seem real enough when they’re on your 20-inch television, but on the big screen they just look like what they are: computer-generated.

Blue Crush might have been able to overcome its problems if it had a serviceable script or a cast that didn’t look either embarrassed (Michelle Rodriguez) or too stupid to know better. Somewhere, Frankie Avalon is turning over in his tanning bed, wondering where it all went wrong.

Erin Podolsky writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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