Blue Crush


USA, 2002. Rated PG-13. 104 minutes.

Cast: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Sanoe Lake, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem, Faizon Love
Writers: John Stockwell and Lizzy Weiss, based on the magazine article "Surf Girls of Maui" by Susan Orlean
Music: Paul Haslinger
Cinematographer: David Hennings
Producers: Brian Grazer, Karen Kehela
Director: John Stockwell


Grade: B Review by Claudia Smurthwaite

I t's the summer of empowered girls and I, for one, say, Hooray! We've had the Powerpuff Girls saving the world before bedtime, Lilo of Disney's Lilo and Stitch preaching "ohana" (family), and now we have the wave riding wahines of Blue Crush, who may not save the world but do set an example of family and overcoming your fears.

Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) was a junior champion surfer who is trying to make a comeback after a near drowning incident on Hawaii's famed Bonsai Pipeline. She lives in a rundown beach shack with her rebellious younger sister, Penny (Mika Boorem)--seems Mom took off with her latest boyfriend--and two childhood friends, Eden (Girl Fight's Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake). Up before dawn to train, Anne Marie, with Eden as her coach-cum-drill sergeant, is focused on her goal of entering the Pipe Masters tournament and possibly securing a paying sponsorship. This makeshift family gives Anne Marie equal measures of support and grief as they look after each other, struggle to make ends meet, and raise Penny. By day, the girls work as maids in a ritzy island hotel and endure guests from hell, including NFL players in town for the Pro Bowl.

Taking a stand against one particularly piggish player (played by Faizon Love for comic relief and a touch of heart), Anne Marie is fired, but not before she catches the eye of the cutie QB, Matt Tollan (Matthew Davis), who hires her for private surf lessons. Rodriguez, Bosworth, and LakeHe's a distraction to her training, but ultimately utters lines every young woman should hear. When she asks him what she should do with regard to the tourney and her life, he replies "Don't be the girl who asks a guy what to do."

Kate Bosworth, who did much of her own surfing, carries the film on able, bikini-clad shoulders. Michelle Rodriguez rises over and above in yet another supporting role (she acted circles around the other girls in last summer's The Fast and the Furious)...can this girl not get a kick-ass lead role to follow up her stunning debut in Girlfight?

Shot on location in Oahu, the surf scenes are adrenaline charged. Having been tossed around by the often unforgiving surf a time or two, I can attest that the recurring-nightmare footage of Anne Marie's wipeout is suitably wince worthy. With photography reminiscent of the seminal surf film, Endless Summer, and a story that blends a dash of Rocky and a splash of romance, Blue Crush gets bonus points for not tying everything up in a nice neat package with an orchid on top.

The music, including a sampling of Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" and rap and reggae tunes by Lenny Kravitz and Damian Marley (Bob's son), complements the action. The songs sound like they belong in the movie and weren't put in just to sell soundtracks. That said, this is still one disc that will likely find its way into many CD players.

The sun, the surf, hot bods on surfboards, and a kickin' soundtrack--sure, there's no Frankie and Annette--but at last, it's a beach movie for the new millennium! While it will probably skew toward teen and pre-teen girls, the audience I saw it with showed that families and, yes, even boys, will dig the wave-riding chicks of Blue Crush.

Review © August 2002 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images 2002 Universal. All Rights Reserved.

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