Stars: ** 1/2
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, language
Run Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Predictable storyline and by-the-book scripting is all but washed away by sumptuous ocean visuals and the cinematic stylings of director John Stockwell (“crazy/beautiful”).
Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) is a surf junkie. Holed up in a Hawaiian beach shack with best buddies Lena and Eden (Sanoe Lake and Michelle Rodriguez), Anne Marie pulls out the stops every day at dawn in an attempt to conquer the perfect pipe. Rebellious little sister Penny (Mike Boorem) has taken up residence, challenging Anne Marie’s seat-of-her-pants disciplinary tactics and wreaking havoc with Anne Marie’s grueling training regimen. Pipe Masters, the ultimate all-girl surf competition, is coming to town, and guess who’s determined to come out on top.
Naturally, Anne Marie’s the best boarder on the island, and she’s hell-bent on proving in. But her internal landscape changes with the unexpected arrival of hunky NFL quarterback Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis). Sick and tired of the hand-to-mouth existence of a surfing wahine, Anne Marie falls for Matt and his high-rolling lifestyle. She loses her edge, and her emotional balance, a mere three days before the Big Event.
Guilty pleasure, be thy name. The sucker punch is the glorious surf footage – perfect watery curls of startling clarity with a lone rider cresting the top or shooting the tube. Digitally enhanced rides don’t pretend to be anything but the ultra-cool plot-enhancers they are. Guys and gals alike scamper about in skimpy beach wear flaunting tanned abs and toned bottoms.
Scary dream sequences (harking back to Anne Marie’s near-fatal ocean accident three years earlier) lend a dramatic edge and an unexpected layer of tension. Acting isn’t much to write home about, but Rodriguez (“Girlfight”) ratchets up the film’s credibility with a gutsy, almost-meaningful performance.
Don’t look for “Blue Crush” come awards season, but don’t discount this end-of-summer treat.