As a critic quite often one gets an inkling as to how good/bad a film will be depending upon basic things such as its premise or marketing campaign, and for the most part one's instincts are spot on. However, every now and then a film which many were ready to pan comes along and takes us by surprise, "Blue Crush" is one of those.
Oh sure this is nowhere near awards territory, hell even from a filmmaking perspective its full of predictable and cliched storylines and moments which make you cringe in their cheesiness. Yet despite all the Hollywood story adjustments in certain parts (most notably the last 30 minutes), the rest of the film comes off with a refreshingly natural tone and welcome light humour which will appeal to all audiences.
In many ways it knows its somewhat cheesy and so embraces those elements, whilst combining it with a light teen drama and some quite spectacularly filmed Hawaiian surfing footage (though the 'face mapping' technology which paints Bosworth's face on someone else's body for big scenes needs tweaking).
That's one of the reasons why it works in that there's a combination of almost otherworldy acts on beautiful crystal blue waters, mixed with grungy down-to-earth elements of living the lifestyle in poor rental housing and as blue collar maids in hotels (on more than one occasion we get to see the downside of being a maid including looking into toilet bowls and mopping up puke). Its one of these coming of age empowerment flicks along the lines of "Flashdance" etc. and despite the big budget sheen it successfully pulls off a more realistic and engaging story than "Coyote Ugly".
Rodriguez is the standout here. As an actress whom we've become accustomed to seeing in dominating roles, its great to see her as a character whose not just a sidekick but has accepted that part - Eden is a girl who realises she'll never have the natural talent Anne Marie has and so has devoted her life to seeing her friend succeed (and is understandbly pissed when it looks like her friend will throw it all away on a fling). The way in which this storyline plays out is far more compelling than a sub-plot about Anne Marie's young sister trying to follow in her rather messed up footsteps, and a jealous ex-boyfriend of hers.
Davis is a welcome male lead - handsome, charming, rich and with wild and wacky friends who provide a lot of the film's humour. The budding romance between him and Anne Marie is a little rushed but never feels forced and unfolds in a reasonable way. Sanoe Lake is a enjoyable cap to the trio whilst Bosworth in the lead is certainly an interesting talent (far more natural than Piper Perabo).
Despite all the Baywatch-esque "You gotta commit all the way" style morality speeches and poor writing at times, this is one of those movies which works to perfection for its audience (teen girls) and is quite entertaining for the rest of us. As many people said coming out of the theatre - "That wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought" and I'd have to agree. In a month when we're subjected to some of the worst Hollywood has had to offer in ages ("Master of Disguise", "Pluto Nash", "Fear.Com", etc.) this fun piece of fluff is a surprising highlight.