Into the Blue John Stockwell

Into the Blue is a nice-looking, meaningless tale of ballsy moves, implausible action and average folks turned action heroes just in time for an "edge of your seat" third act. A cast of Teen People regulars charm through a conventional story arch. Paul Walker is a deep-sea diver who stumbles on drugs, then buried treasure. Jessica Alba and a never-smarmier Scott Caan tag along. If you had distaste for Caan before, chances are you'll loathe him here. The kids get mixed up with drug dealers, people get shot and maybe a shark bites someone, maybe. The stockpile conclusion runs 15 minutes too long, as custom now dictates. Post-climax, a "six weeks later" title reveals our heroes, happy as clams, apparently having grieved sufficiently for their handful of dead friends. Then a silly message before the credits, "The world's oceans have six billion in buried treasure just waiting to be discovered," an admirable attempt to associate the film with anything that might happen in reality. Despite the obvious flaws, director John Stockwell maximises the value of his assets. Jessica Alba is certifiably sexy after a run of box office successes, ditto Paul Walker. Conspicuous pans over Alba's taut torso will keep men gawking, and Walker's blue-eyed gaze just melts the Ashley Simpson demographic. Frequent make-out scenes and a nearly total exclusion of shirts make for a "sexy thrill-ride" best categorised as the summer money-grabber. It's easy to ridicule; you almost have to. But crappy fun shouldn't be subject to serious analysis or high-minded critical posturing that can only result in dismissal. It's decent in bits and pieces, maybe while making dinner. Then again, if you're 14, it's just an awesome flick worth the ever-changing distinction of being your favourite. (Sony)