Reviewed by: Jonathan Rothgeb
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem, Sanoe Lake | Directed by: John Stockwell | Produced by: Brian Grazer, Karen Kehela | Written by: John Stockwell, Lizzy Weiss | Distributor: Universal
In the 60’s and early 70’s surfing movies were all the rage. Who can forget Bobby and Annette doing the twist while the surf crashed against the beach in the background. Even Elvis got into the swing of things in “Blue Hawaii”. Writer/Director John Stockwell has tried to bring the old genre to an X generation audience by juicing up the sex, adding the drugs and alcohol, throwing in profanity, and topping it all off with some pretty spectacular surfing shots.
The story circles around a “new generation” type family where the mother has run out leaving her young daughters, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) and Penny (Mika Boorem), to fend for themselves. We are never really given the details of the separation except to mention that she was a man-hungry alcoholic who cared more about her good times than her offspring. The older daughter who is no longer in school, splits her parenting duties with a job as a maid and of course struggling to become a pro surfer chick.
Reality has little to do with this movie’s premise. We are shown a degrading family where a young woman is forced to take on the role of mother, and yet that is given second place to her dreams of surfing, finding a man, and having a good time. The younger sister Penny is little more than one of the nation’s lost children, looking for the next party where she can get drunk and sleep with the next guy available. Throughout the entire movie pre-adolescent sex and drinking is shown as acceptable and little consideration has been put into who the audience of this film really is: teens.
The film is full of great surfing shots and beautiful footage of Hawaii. I have never seen a movie with quite so much information given as to what really goes into training for a surfing event. Unfortunately, this great footage is not supported by quality acting or a well written plot. Throughout the film both Anne Marie and Penny are supported by their friends and roommates Edna (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake), showing a modicum of family support. Rodriguez (of “Resident Evil” fame) does a good performance as Anne Marie’s most avid fan and supporter. Matthew Davis is weak as Anne Marie’s NFL quarterback love interest.
Again, Hollywood has provided an impressionable, adolesent audience with just the right point of view to send them spiralling out into a world that will drag them into the gutter. I John 2:15-17 admonishes us not to love the things of this world for these things are passing away but to instead love the Father and abide in him. It’s okay to have dreams and goals, to fight for what you believe in, and even have fun doing it, but you can do all those things while still living in God’s perfect will. We need to encourage our children to live upright lives and support them in choices that coincide with what God tells us in His Word.
Honestly, I cannot recommend this movie to anyone on any level. If surfing is what you are into may I recommend a trip to your local video store where you can rent a good docudrama on the subject.