[box cover]

Blue Crush

Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) has had a hard-luck life. Though she lives in Hawaii, her mom is nowhere to be found, her dad's MIA, and she's stuck taking care of her rebellious 14-year-old sister Penny (Mika Boreem). All Anne Marie really wants to do is surf. And she's good — or so say her best friends Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake). But the last time she went out to compete she hit her head on the coral rocks and nearly died, making her edgy about really going for it. Things change when she meets handsome football player Matt (Mathew Davis), whose team is in town to relax, staying at the hotel where Anne Marie works as a maid. She agrees to give him surfing lessons, but as the two fall for each other Anne Marie abandons her friends in order to practice, while Matt's teammates' lady friends think Matt is slumming. Blue Crush (2002), a sort of female counterpart to Big Wednesday, is the probably the most laid-back version of a sports film yet made. Many standard elements of genre are in place (the training montage, the romantic interest, the tough obstacle, the final competition, etc.), but the movie is never in a rush to make these moments more than a part of the sum. This may be because director John Stockwell has something of an actorly touch behind the camera; not surprising, as he began his career in front of it (he was in 1986's Top Gun and appeared with Keith Gordon — another actor turned director — in 1983's Christine). Like his last film Crazy/Beautiful, Blue Crush works because the director invests enough in the leads to make sure they are well-rounded characters and not just stereotypical hot chicks with something to prove. Bosworth, making her leading debut, carries the film, and one can empathize with her struggle, while Rodriguez and Lake make for a good supporting cast. And also, for a movie about women getting scantily clad and wet, Stockwell does a good job of not making the film feel exploitative. But the because the picture is so character-driven, occasionally the pace tends to lag — we know Anne Marie must make it to the final competition, and at times one wants the story to get on with it. Otherwise, it's a fine effort at making a sports film that's not fueled by testosterone. Universal presents Blue Crush in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Supplements include two audio commentaries, the first with Stockwell, producer Rick Dallago, and Stockwell's son Casper, the second with Bosworth, Rodriguez, and Lake. There's the standard 15-min. promo called "Three Friends, One Passion: The Making of Blue Crush," which is followed by "Filming Blue Crush" (4 min.), "Wipeout!" (2 min.), "Riding the Waves" (4 min.), "Blue Crush Promo" (3 min.), and "Skateboarding" (2 min.). All of the shorts are footage culled for the film, accompanied by (sometimes sparse) commentary from Stockwell. Also on board is the cross-promotional "Surf Fashion," where Lake joins a Billabong representative to model their clothes, and "The Female Surfing Revolution" (2 min.), which features comments from prominent female surfers. If that weren't enough there's also eight deleted scenes (running a hair shy of 20 min.), all with optional commentary by the director, a music video for Lenny Kravitz's song "If I could Fall in Love," the theatrical trailer, production notes, cast and crew bios, and text on the history of surfing. Keep-case.

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