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In a world where movies tend to go big or go home, today’s audiences expect excellence in every venture to the big screen.
That’s where movies like “Chasing Mavericks” fail. It’s not a blockbuster, but it’s not a flop either. It lives in that dangerous in-between that dooms films to a quick trip to DVD or downloadable media.
It’s the true story of Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston), a young man whose father left him as a child and grows up dreaming of surfing the big waves.
Moriarity seeks help from an experienced surfer named Frosty (Gerard Butler, “300”) who not only helps him prepare for the dangers of the surf but also transitions into a father figure in Moriarity’s life.
Frosty takes on the wise, older surfer role — the Obi-Wan of the surf world, you might say — as he imparts his knowledge and philosophy to Moriarity.
Even if you are not a fan of surfing movies, you have to admit most of them have some amazing ocean photography. “Chasing Mavericks” is no exception. The majesty of the massive waves crashing into the coast is beautifully shot.
Speaking of beautiful, did I mention Gerard Butler is in this movie? For the past couple years, the oh-so-handsome Butler has been in need of a new agent because of some pitiful roles he’s grabbed since his heralded lead in the action-packed “300.”
It’s not that he doesn’t do a good job in the films; many of the them all have problems on their own regardless of his performance. He does a good job in this one though, and near the end there is a very endearing sequence similar to his early films such as “Dear Frankie.”
You also have to give Butler props for doing some of his own surfing, causing him to be hospitalized during the shooting with a back injury.
Weston, a relative newcomer, does OK in the role, but his performance doesn’t pull you into his character and at some times feels blank.
Elisabeth Shue (“House at the End of the Street”), Abigail Spencer (“Cowboys and Aliens”) and Leven Rambin (“The Hunger Games”) also star in the film.
“Chasing Mavericks” should have heart and big waves to drive the story all the way through, but it lags in points and loses momentum.
It’s relatively clean, which gained it a PG rating, but I’m not sure it will be a hit at the box office.