Even with a strong dramatic premise, Chasing Mavericks fails to evoke any kind of a profound emotion due to an over-sensationalized treatment given to a genuinely inspiring biopic : one that is melodramatic, badly acted and has unintentionally funny dialogue. There is nothing wrong in sensationalising a truthful event to serve cinematic purpose, but the sensationalism in itself should be a better retelling of the tale; not a mundane tabloid story. Case in point is Sorkin's Zuckerberg bio-pic which is legendary stuff.
This one is a story of Jay - a curious kid and an avid surfer who harbours dreams to glide like a bird on the Mavericks. The term refers to killer waves, so deadly that they are considered mythical, found on the far coast of Northern California. Kid belongs to a pseudo dysfunctional family, meaning you only see the archetypes of dysfunctionality and never the inherent foundations, or the consequences.
There is the drunk mother who borrows money from him (which he is saving for a radio that transmits "current" news), and a father who "abandoned" them. Which brings us to Frosty (Gerard Butler), who is an unmatched pro in surfing and sensing the passion of young Jay, agrees to mentor him to, obviously, chase the mavericks. Not the high school ones, though Butler is capable enough.
The film is a documentation of a true story (Jay Moriarity, legendary American surfer who died at age 21, diving in Maldives) but appears dramaticaly exaggerated. And unfittingly so, as the additional contrivance doesnt serve the film's purpose and often digresses from the main objective. So we have Butler's wife who randomly decides to die - an element added solely to make his character sympathetic and evoke fine moments between the Master and the Disciple. There is unfulfilled love as the high school hottie Kim doesn't want to be seen with Jay, who rides the sea in the daytime and nocturnally delivers pizzas. There is desperation to show a uniquely poignant bond - kind of an unlikely friendship - between Butler and Jay, but it fails miserably due to A) Bad Acting, bad lines B) How do you become friends with Butler?
The only thing worth seeing in this picture directed by Curtin Hanson and Michael Apted is the strikingly gorgeous imagery and an even more striking climactic sequence wherein the Maverics finally flaunt their shark-like prowess. There is minimal CGI, and most of it is the genuinely overwhelming Californian coast. And it is worth feasting your eyes with.
Fanatic passion for fanatically extreme sports exists; and the idea of the film is in showing what having unbriddled passion for something truly means. This could be well underlined had the film fallen on a better director's hands. But despite their best efforts, the amateur treatment is too openly evident, and the mediocrity of the acting too obvious to avoid.
So the only choice is to take your partner for a nice stroll at a local beach - it may not be exotic - but it should suffice.view less