Director: Curtis Hanson, Michael Apted
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Leven Rambin, Elisabeth Shue, Abilgale Spencer, Taylor Handley
b! Says: **
Chasing Mavericks is a wipeout.
Watching ‘Chasing Mavericks’ feels like being trapped in a time warp, but it’s hard to not like it a little if you were a child growing up in the 90s. Its campy, yet earnest tone is a throwback to old hits like ‘The Karate Kid’ and while it has heart, it lacks tempo and thrill – both essential to a movie that’s about a teenage surfer desperate to take on dangerous waves.
Teenage surfer Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) is living the simple life in California until he follows his neighbour Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) and discovers Mavericks, a surfing location with monster waves that pose a thrilling challenge. After much cajoling, Frosty agrees to train Jay and they strike up a father-son bond. While he trains to take on the waves, Jay also must deal with his household woes involving his mother (Elisabeth Shue), bullies at school and childhood crush, Kim (Leven Rambin).
The characters in ‘Chasing Mavericks’ are too one-note to relate to. Jonny Weston might have been a pin-up boy in another decade but he’s too goody-goody to get tweens today all hot and bothered. There’s no real fire in Butler’s performance and you never warm up to him as Jay’s mentor. Still, some of the surfing shots are beautiful and the tone captured of the early 90s is bang on.
While ‘Chasing Mavericks’ could leave you feeling not a little nostalgic, it’s too dated to make an impression. This one’s a wipeout.