Crush with Fluff

I've never been surfing. I'm just a Haole boy who's managed to touch the ocean twice in the last year. So watching the extensive surfing scenes in Blue Crush is a fairly unique experience for me. It would be easy to argue that, given the interest and care given into each shot, the film at its heart is about the relationship between surfer and wave.

Our surfer is Anne Marie Chadwick (Kate Bosworth), and she is a local kid - "local" meaning Hawaii here - who took to the sport at an early age, showing a lot of promise. A few years prior to the start of the film, she nearly drowned when she hit her head on the reef while surfing a particularly dangerous spot - which of course is where the best waves are. She's planning on entering a big surfing contest, but the tension in the movie comes from that hesitation she now has, that certain fear lingering in the back of her mind - and we get to relive the disturbing, jaw-clenching moment each time she pauses before taking a real risk.

Of course, the Hollywood machine insists that movie cannot be that simple - it's not just "Anne Marie and the Sea". Some of these added elements work to support Anne Marie's psychology - her friends, their jobs as maids in a luxury hotel, the younger sister she takes care of, and the fact her mother has run off to Vegas. These I can forgive, though these threads wander entirely too much and, like Anne Marie, I'd rather get back to the surfing.

Much has been made about the grafted-on romantic storyline - a vacationing pro football player who slums it by taking surfing lessons from Anne Marie, and not-so-subtlely getting her into his hotel room. There seems to be an idea out there that you can't have a (non-kids) movie without some kind of sexual tension or entanglement - something to do with marketing or demographics. The fact is, this would have been a better movie without it, but it's not quite as bad as it could have been. This relationship becomes the biggest B-plot here, but the drama is kept in proportion with the real story of the surfing. It was definitely a wrong decision, but not an entirely stupid one (but I have to say the run-in he has with the natives was really bad).

It ought to be possible to edit this film down to something quite engaging by removing some, if not all, of these extraneous plotlines. As it was, I had a few moments of boredom, wondering if I should keep watching at all. My persistence was rewarded when we got back to the surfing though. If you're renting this, I suggest keeping your finger near the fast-forward button.

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