Let's face it: these days, Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson are just about the dream rom-com pairing, so kudos to the producers for landing them. Unfortunately, having expended all their energy getting the perfect acting duo on board, the makers of this one seem to have been too exhausted to bother with such trifles as a decent script or second takes. Aiming for the feel of one of those classic light-hearted capers, they've instead come up with this uneven, lazy, bloated and highly unsatisfying borefest.
The premise is a basic hidden treasure story replete with a vaguely plausible historical back story – Spanish treasure, if you must know - twinned with a romance gone sour. Needless to say, in order to find the gold, a once-happy but recently divorced couple (McConaughey and Hudson) will have to get over their differences and work together, using her smarts and his treasure-hunting ability to find the gold; cue drama. A perfectly fine premise for a film such as this, if a little predictable.
It is, however, in a whole range of small things that this one falls down. There is a flabby feel to every frame, with consistently sloppy acting and poorly scripted dialogue marring scene after scene. Motifs and running gags are hinted at but the directing team has neither the talent or storytelling skill to pitch them correctly; plot point after plot point is either underplayed or hamfistedly done, and, irritatingly, plot signposts placed in the middle of the film are not followed through in its denouement. Does Donald Sutherland's daughter fancy Matthew McConaughey? Is she hiding a great intellect behind all the heavy makeup and tacky jewellery? There are hints at both but neither amount to anything, and there are plenty other examples of lazy scripting.
The supporting cast is another problem; it's huge, and there's too much going on, which means everything and everyone gets a second rate treatment. Donald Sutherland tries his best as a rich guy with a big boat – it is too easy to accuse him of 'not trying' just because this is not a successful film – but by the end he has plumbed Michael Caine (at his worst) depths, and then there's Ray Winstone, playing a cockney with a bad American accent, and a rather underwhelming set of villains including a rapper, some bumbling henchmen, and a clichéd 'proper baddie'.
The 'dream pairing' also stutter and flounder instead of soaring. McConaughey gurns and jumps around, doing the wild man, studly thing, and Hudson makes all the right cutesy faces, at times demonstrating her undoubted comic talent, but the magic is notably absent.
In the end, this effort to make another 'How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days' ends up feeling and looking more like 'how to shoot all your scenes in ten minutes', with poor directing looking like the flaw from which all the others stem. For whatever reason, it's lightweight but also slow-paced, a killer combination, and in the end is simply boring.
Eminently missable for all but the most avid McConaughey/Hudson fans.