2 1/2 stars
Watch any surfing documentary, from "Whipped!" to "Riding Giants," and you'll hear the dudes speak -- in hushed tones -- about the treacherous and epic waves that show up off the coast of northern
"Chasing Mavericks" is about the days when that break was acknowledged as real, and the teenager --
In a brief prologue, we learn of Jay's working-poor background -- his alcoholic, semi-employed, divorced mom (
He lionizes Frosty and stows away on the guy's ancient Ford Econoline van when Frosty sneaks off to Mavericks, of which only a quartet of veteran surfers are aware. They know the conditions and are skilled enough to handle waves as high "as five-story buildings, a thousand tons of water pounding you, holding you down."
Those are Frosty's warnings to the boy. But when his wife points out that "there are all kinds of sons," Frosty mentors the kid, training him for that magical three-month window when conditions make Mavericks an epic ride.
The dynamic here is that Jay is the more grown up of the two. He's keeping his lonely, depressed mother afloat and employed. Frosty is missing his daughter's childhood, ditching work and lying to his wife to surf.
"Chasing Mavericks" tends toward the cute, as Jay's guru, his sensei, makes him practice holding his breath for four minutes, makes him ride a paddleboard 36 miles across
But the mentor-student relationship works. The sense of a time and place is strong. And the surfing footage is awe-inspiring. The film captures the majesty and violence of the big waves and gives us a taste of their allure.
Built with "Soul Surfer" in mind, the film's emotional punches are saved for the third act, and it never really sells its "Live Like Jay" -- on the edge and for each moment -- ethos. It's a bit overlong for the limited scope of the story and narrow vision of the characters. That's probably because initial director
But "Chasing Mavericks" is still an entertaining dip into a world many talk about, but few have ever sampled.
"Chasing Mavericks" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG (for thematic elements and some perilous action).
Running time: 1:54.
Credits: Directed by
<< RETURN TO MOVIE REVIEWS ...
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
- Life of Pi
- Red Dawn
- Rise of The Guardians
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
- Anna Karenina
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Wreck-It Ralph
- The Details
- Cloud Atlas
- Chasing Mavericks
- The Sessions
- Fun Size
- Alex Cross
- Tai Chi Zero
- Here Comes the Boom
- Seven Psychopaths
- Taken 2
- The Paperboy
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- Hotel Transylvania
- Won't Back Down
- Trouble With the Curve
- The Master
- End of Watch
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.