Coming late to the game to catch this mystery drama, I’d already heard “Serenity” had pulled in plenty of negativity and head scratching from fellow film critics. Written, produced and directed by “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” television game show creator Steven Knight, “Serenity” earned the taboo label as the year’s first bad movie. But just as fishing can be hit or miss between nearby boats, I decided to jump aboard Matthew McConaughey’s latest endeavor to see if this open water tale floats.
The rambling talker for Lincoln luxury car commercials, McConaughey mumbles his way through this “Sixth Sense” impishness with ease. Portraying struggling tuna fisherman Baker Dill, McConaughey must fend off the trifecta of war, rum and a bank attempting to foreclose on his vessel. The Iraq War veteran fights for his survival using any means possible to keep his charter service afloat, figuratively holding up a “Sex for Fishing” sign with the town hottie played exquisitely by Diane Lane.
A somewhat suspenseful yarner that navigates around small territories of boredom, “Serenity” lures the audience with top shelf performances by McConaughey and fellow Academy Award-winner Anne Hathaway. “The Devil Wears Prada” linchpin Hathaway reels in the film’s most successful cast: The ex-wife to McConaughey and mother to their son, Hathaway attempts to get the salty seaman to agree to chum the ocean waters with her abusive husband. Here, the hook is set on a plot that must be strapped in to the boat’s stern and reeled in with serious finesse. A gambit that is more complicated than first realized.
Panned almost universally, “Serenity” isn’t nearly as poor of a fishing expedition as most Hollywood naysayers want you to believe. In true fish story fashion, some haters of the film have remarked that “Serenity” is so bad it’s almost good. All cleverness aside, the film’s stellar cast delivers a watchable film with enough nibbles on the bait to keep viewers entertained and wondering where the sea tale will end.
“Serenity” is rated R with a running time of 1 hour and 43 minutes.