“Fool’s Gold” revolves around a quest for the fabled Queen’s Dowry, a boatload of gold and jewels meant to seal a royal marriage deal, which sank in the Caribbean in 1715. Tess (Kate Hudson) and Ben (Matthew McConaughey), who met and married in Florida during spring break, have spent their entire marriage looking for the booty. Tess is a doctoral candidate in something – history? hair extensions? – and has had her life put on hold by Ben’s passion for finding the Dowry. So they split up and immediately get back together when Ben finally finds a substantial clue to what’s down there, waiting.

What’s up here, not waiting, is a whole boatload of subplots. Ben’s underwater wanderings have put him in serious debt to a gangster/rap star named Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart), who also wants the treasure. In a stupidly reckless effort to save a windblown hat, Ben endears himself to the flighty Gemma Honeycutt (Alexis Dziena), whose father, the fabulously wealthy Nigel Honeycutt (Donald Sutherland), takes a shine to both Ben and the idea of finding the Dowry. That Tess is working as a steward aboard Nigel’s yacht is the kind of coincidence perhaps discovered only in a McConaughey movie; Tess’s reaction to finding Ben aboard the Precious Gem involves the kind of spastic, hysterical overkill that is utterly bewildering, until you remember that it was directed by Andy Tennant (“Hitch,” “Sweet Home Alabama”), who also co-wrote the script.

With all due respect to the striking guild members marching around the studio entrances in Burbank and Culver City, any more than two writers on a movie usually spells trouble. On the other hand, that two of the three scribes responsible for “Fool’s Gold” have previously specialized in horror makes perfect sense.

“Fool’s Gold”

PG-13, 112 minutes


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