Film Review: Weak Story Wipes Out ‘Chasing Mavericks’
CHICAGO – After the initial disappointment that “Chasing Mavericks” wasn’t about the pursuit of John McCain archetypes – it’s political season, don’t you know – it was interesting to note that mavericks are water waves, and chasing them means surfing. Hang ten, dudes.
Basically this film is a watery “Karate Kid’ – complete with an appearance by Elisabeth Shue – that features surfboards instead of crane kicks. Gerard Butler is the “Mr, Miyagi” surfer dude, and he sports long locks and a California accent straight out of Scotland. Wasn’t “Endless Summer’ the last word in surfing movies? How about Frankie and Annette? “Chasing Mavericks” is a harmless diversion that has stiff dialogue, fuzzy character motivations, sudden death and the audacity to be based on a true story. Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the movie? Oh, that’s next week.
Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston) is a 1980s-90s working class boy in Santa Cruz, California, who has affinity for the waves. It turns out his mysterious neighbor Frosty (Gerard Butler) is a world class surfer, who “chases mavericks,” the huge waves that result from global warming (I think), and is a short drive away in a rickety VW van. When the boy grows into a Willie Aames-type teenager, he decides he must surf these waves, despite the vague difficulties of his mother Kristy (Elisabeth Shue).
Frosty won’t let Jay touch the water until the proper training techniques are absolutely followed, including the writing of observational essays. The boy follows them to the letter, sacrificing his social life and quasi-girlfriend Kim (Levin Rambin), while Frosty continues to maintain a growing family with his wife Brenda (Abigail Spencer). When a sudden tragedy occurs, the chasing of the mavericks are in jeopardy, but somehow the boy who loved waves will also conquer them.
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox