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Blue Crush

The quickest way to summarize Blue Crush is that it is nothing more than a guilty pleasure. There are very few redeeming qualities about this movie, which is utterly familiar in it's plot and themes, but the filmmakers did a nice job of making it fun (albeit trashy fun) to watch. It is similar in tone to Coyote Ugly, another film that revels in the throes of girl power (and empowerment). This time, the girls are not bartenders, they are surfers. Chief among them is Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth, Remember the Titans, The Horse Whisperer), a one time rising star in the world of women's surfing. A near death accident three years ago scarred her emotionally. She stopped competing professionally and now balks at any wave that is remotely dangerous. Still, she entered the Piper Masters contest, which will take place in eight days on the north shore of Oahu. Of course, the waves are extremely dangerous, and Anne Marie is ill prepared to win (dum dum dum!)

Lizzy Weiss and director John Stockwell (crazy/beautiful, Cheaters) adapted the story for Blue Crush from Susan Orlean's magazine article “Surf Girls of Maui.” It also helped that Stockwell and producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, Undercover Brother) are both surfers. These haoles lend a sort of authentic spirit to most of the proceedings. Anne Marie lives with her sister Penny (Mika Boorem, Riding in Cars with Boys, Hearts in Atlantis) and friends Lena (Sanoe Lake) and Eden (Michelle Rodriguez, Resident Evil, The Fast and the Furious). They work as hotel maids for money, but live to surf. At the hotel, Anne Marie meets Matt (Matthew Davis, Legally Blonde, Pearl Harbor), an NFL quarterback, and begins a relationship with him after he asks for surf lessons. Eden is the only person that seems to notice that spending time with him means no time for training.

Any sort of plot is secondary. The only reason to watch Blue Crush is for the surfing footage. This is the type of movie where, although there are bad guys in the beginning of the movie, the only real 'enemy' is in Anne Marie's mind, and there's no doubt as to whether or not she can overcome her fears. All the characters have little depth to them, Anne Marie is the only one with any sort of personality. Eden and Lena are more there for window dressing. In order to add a little substance, Weiss and Stockwell have Anne Marie wanting to win to provide for her sister. Their mother is persona non grata, and they scrape together money to pay for bills each month. Moreover, Stockwell cannot make the Matt character too strong, or else his personality would seem "bigger" than Anne Marie's, thereby causing Blue Crush to lose some of it's "chicks rule" mentality. Everything is nothing more than filler between some great surfing shots and the inevitable contest at the end.

And what a contest it is. First, Bosworth and Rodriguez took surfing lessons (Lake already surfs very well), so it is actually them in some of the shots (key word "some"). In addition, actual professional women surfers (playing themselves) appear. Real surfing, combined with some spectacularly large waves and camerawork, yield some exhilarating surfing sequences, and some gnarly wipeouts. It makes one wonder how they are able to get some of these shots, with the actors flying through pipelines, diving under waves, and paddling like crazy to catch a wave they thinks looks good. These sequences are thrilling and fun, and make the rest of the movie seem lame by comparison. One wishes that Stockwell would focus less on Anne Marie's love life and devote more time to her and her friends surfing. Bottom line? Is Blue Crush predictable? Yes. Shallow? Yes. Stupid? At times. But fun? Definitely.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 43 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content, teen partying, language, and a fight.

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