Blue Crush chronicles the tales of Anne Marie, a surfer and Hawaii native who dreams of competing in the male-dominated surf competition on the North Shore of Oahu, the epicenter of big wave surfing.
Surfer chick Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) shares a Hawaiian beach shack with her two best friends, Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake), and her rebellious teen sister Penny (Mika Boorem). Her drunken mother took off to Las Vegas with some schmuck, leaving her to raise Penny all by herself, so she and her friends eke out a living working as maids in a posh resort hotel. Anne Marie, however, has bigger dreams: She has been invited to compete in the Pipe Masters surf competition on the North Shore of Oahu, but after nearly drowning three years ago she can't let go of the fear of breaking her neck on a reef. With Eden's help, Anne Marie trains diligently for the upcoming contest, but gets sidetracked when she falls for a guest at the hotel--a cute NFL quarterback named Matt (Matthew Davis), who pays her $1000 for surfing lessons. They have an extended fling and Anne Marie camps out in his hotel room as he showers her with expensive décolleté dresses and a pair of strappy heels. Even Eden's inspirational spiels fail to refocus her buddy on the competition. Only when Matt tells her he believes in her does she actually get the courage to finally commit to a wave.
Before seeing Blue Crush, I could not understand why Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious) was not cast in the lead role--and I still feel the same way after seeing the film. With her athletic build and tough attitude, Rodriguez would have been perfect as a surfer competing in an aggressive male-dominated sport. Instead, her character Eden is reduced to living vicariously through her vapid, scrawny friend (Bosworth). There is nothing off about Bosworth's performance; in fact, she portrays her somewhat complicated character Anne Marie well enough. It's blatantly clear, however, that Hollywood needed a vacuous blonde to fall prey to the sexual advances of a pro football player--and sell a surfing movie. As Lena, newcomer and real-life surfer Lake rounds out the threesome, the only one who didn't actually have to take a crash surfing course prior to shooting Blue Crush. Although she does not have too much dialogue, she is natural in front of the camera and adds to the film's surfer subculture authenticity.
According to the production notes, Blue Crush was inspired by Susan Orlean's article ''The Surf Girls of Maui,'' published in Outside magazine. Director John Stockwell (crazy/beautiful) and Lizzy Weiss adapted the story for the big screen and churned out this cheesy surfer girl-power screenplay. But put the story aside and you end up with an entertaining picture that works because of the chemistry between Bosworth, Rodriguez and Lake. Stockwell also nails the whole Oahu subculture with its territorial wars and rules. There is plenty of beautiful footage of surfers squeezed into perfect barrels and wiping out, and underwater shots of some surfers cracking their heads on jagged coral--all without the use of tank shots or blue screens. Top-ranking women surfers appearing as themselves, including Layne Beachley, Keala Kennelly and Kate Skarratt, give the film a legit feel, not to mention Stockwell's casting of Oahu locals. For a film that boasts the unrealized force of surfer girls, it's too bad Anne Marie had to get her final inspiration from a fluffy jock.
Blue Crush is an uplifting story about women fitting in and competing in the surfing subculture of Oahu. Don't look for anything deep here, just an entertaining end-of-summer flick with a great soundtrack.