Brainless Eye Candy

Friday, September 30, 2005

The moral of "Into the Blue" is simple: Never get between a shark and his coke stash.

That's the lesson from the climactic scene of this waterlogged thriller, whose chief purpose otherwise seems to be allowing viewers to ogle some of Hollywood's tannest, buffest young things undulating sexily through turquoise water. Sure, there are sharks, and they're indeed circling ominously around a crashed plane stuffed to the gaskets with the aforementioned alkaloid stimulant, which is just down the coral reef from a 19th-century ship holding millions of dollars' worth of buried treasure. But forget the blow and bling bling: "Into the Blue" is all about the bods.

Paul Walker and Jessica Alba play two earnest, honest and hot treasure hunters living in the Bahamas; Scott Caan and Ashley Scott play two sleazy, avaricious and hot friends who arrive on the scene and set a risky scheme in motion involving midnight dives and drugs and ruby-encrusted scabbards. It's a cross between a bad episode of "Miami Vice" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" -- the creaky Disneyland ride, not the cool Johnny Depp movie.

John Stockwell, the director, has proved himself a deceivingly smart purveyor of pulp before, in such films as "crazy/beautiful" and "Blue Crush." But, despite some impressive underwater photography and really pretty fish, his talents fail him with a script that asks Alba to deliver lines like, "I believe in you more than the prospect of any treasure." "Into the Blue" may look good cavorting prettily on deck, but ultimately it deserves to walk the plank.

-- Ann Hornaday

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