U.S. Release Date: August 16, 2002
Distributor: Universal
Director: John Stockwell
Producer: Brian Grazer
Composer: Paul Haslinger
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez
Running Time: 1 hour and 44 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sexual content, teen partying, language and a fight)

Missing the Wave
by C.A. Wolski

For a sports picture to work it isn't enough to have beautiful and exciting shots of the contest. It is imperative that the audience understands the underlying passion driving the contestants. And this is why Blue Crush fails on all counts after setting up an intriguing first few minutes.

Blue Crush takes place in the days leading up to the women's pipeline competition in Maui—apparently a big deal in the surfing world—and follows the preparations of Ann Marie (Kate Bosworth) for the event. The movie starts out well enough. Ann Marie and her surfer friends Eden (Michelle Rodriquez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake) are struggling hotel maids with big dreams, which hinge on Ann Marie's winning the pipeline competition. Though physically capable, Ann Marie is having a tough time overcoming the mental scars left by a near fatal wipeout at the beach where the competition will take place. To make matters worse, her kid sister (Mika Boorem) ditches school, smokes and parties with the older surfer crowd to the consternation of the would-be surfing champ.

Now, what would have been interesting is exploring the world of surfing culture. What drives the amateurs who work as hotel maids and have no aspirations beyond catching a wave before morning (Lena) or those who have to find other ways of making surfing pay (Eden designs surfboards)? And other than money, what drives the pros? The thrills, the celebrity, what? Blue Crush answers none of these questions. Instead it falls back on the old trope of the forbidden romance—in this case between Ann Marie and a hunky, too-good-to-be-true pro quarterback, Matt (Matthew Davis). The romance sweeps Ann Marie off her feet, and she begins to neglect her dream. Of course, it all works out in the end, a little too neatly. But by the end I really didn't care if Ann Marie won the event, got the guy or became a success—I just wanted the movie to be over.

To be fair, the surfing footage is very exciting, but there's no explanation as to what a "good" wave is or how contestants are judged. Ann Marie gets the equivalent of a perfect 10, but I have no idea why or how the contest is structured.

The acting is passable. Bosworth looks good in a bikini, is believable clutching a surfboard and is able to handle the one or two genuinely dramatic moments fairly well. Thankfully, the subplot with the hunky football player's overweight teammates cavorting in Speedos and grass skirts is given short shrift.

There are only two reasons to see Blue Crush: if you absolutely love surfing or if you've always wanted to go to Hawaii but never got around to it. Otherwise, go read a book and save your money for the plane fare.

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