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Blue Crush

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Blue Crush

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: John Stockwell
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: August 2002
Genres: Drama, Sports, Romance

*Also starring: Kala Alexander, Mika Boorem, Faizon Love, Matthew Davis, Chris Taloa, Sanoe Lake

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Review by Harvey Karten
3 stars out of 4

Well-known online film writer David Poland (The Hot Button) calls "Blue Crush" the prettiest surf movie ever. One wonders how he could take his eyes from Kate Bosworth long enough to see the power of the 110-foot waves, some of which bearing sixty pounds of weight. Or maybe he was talking about Kate after all, a young performer who dazzles on the screen as much as she shines on the ubiquitous posters that form part of this movie's heavy marketing campaign. "Blue Crush" is a gem even when compared to the other major films of the genre, including "Gidget" (1959); "Back to the Beach" (1987); "Big Wednesday" (1978); "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982); "Psycho Beach Party" (2000); and the hilarious wartime surf scene in Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" (1979).

There's more National Geographic than Cahiers du Cinema in this potential contender for cinematography awards. Though based on a magazine article "Surf Girls of Maui" by Susan Orlean and adapted by Lizzy Weiss and director John Stockwell for the big screen, "Blue Crush" is more about showing off nubile bodies and bureau of tourism mise-en-scene than about teaching us football and baseball fans about a sport that's as little known here in the mainland as it is nonetheless dangerous, fast-paced and brutal. Were Stockwell intent on technical details, he might have introduced more of the jargon of the sport. Many in the audience probably scarcely know the bow from the stern and just might want to find a little more about such sports lingo as "pocket," "ripping," "shubee" (that's me), and "clamshell" than about a sunny romance between a gorgeous babe and a hunk player for the NFL, but there's enough of a solid performance by Ms. Bosworth to make up for any of this.

Stockwell's picture centers on an ersatz family of four young women; the aforementioned Kate Bosworth as Anne Marie; Michelle Rodriguez as Eden; Sanoe Lake as Lena and Mika Boorem as Anne Marie's pesky, hooky-playing kid sister Penny. For some reason Anne Marie's mother had deserted the nest and perhaps to compensate, a lobster-red Anne Marie furiously trains for the superbowl of surfing, held annually on the North Shore of Hawaii's Oahu island. Romance? Of course. Anne Marie meets football star Matt (Matthew Davis), and while hesitation is death for a surfer Anne Marie is irresolute about accepting the obligatory invite to his hotel room for about 2 minutes. The three young women act as maids in a plush hotel but Anne Marie gets fired for chewing out a slob tenant all the better to allow her to do the mating dance with Matt, some steps that would be prohibited to the girls who remain as hotel workers.

The contest results are predictable, but who cares? Hawaii looks terrific, even if your favorite sport is hanging out in a hammock, and did I mention that Kate Bosworth is flat-out stunning?

Copyright 2002 Harvey Karten

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