Featuring the combined efforts of directors Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted, as well as ginormous, gnarly waves, and all the gruff, non-threatening charm that Gerard Butler can muster, Chasing Mavericks is a good-faith effort to dramatize 12 weeks in the life of an apparently flawless young surfer.
Based on a true story, it’s clearly intended to be inspirational, following along as teenaged Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) faces one challenge after another, always with a smile on his face and a positive outlook on life. His father walked out on him and his mother Kristy (Elisabeth Shue) when Jay was a boy, around the same time that he was rescued by legendary surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). Fortuitously, Jay wants to be a surfer, and Frosty lives across the street in the coastal town of Santa Cruz, California, and so an unofficial father/son bond is formed, at least in Jay’s eyes.
The film begins with the ocean rescue, staying with the time period long enough to establish the key players, before jumping forward seven years. Jay is now a surfer with exceptional skills; he is now best friends with Blond (Devin Crittenden), the kid who gave him his first surfing lesson; he still pines for the lovely Kim (Leven Rambin); he still gets bullied by the jealous Sonny (Taylor Handley); his mother is still troubled; and good neighbor Frosty still gruffly keeps him at arm’s length.
One night, Jay discovers Frosty’s big secret: the existence of the legendary Mavericks, giant waves so high and huge that only a few surfers in the world can ride them and live to tell the tale. Jay immediately sets his heart on surfing the Mavericks, but Frosty sternly rebuffs his entreaties, until Frosty’s warmhearted, lovingly supportive wife Brenda (Abigail Spencer) finally breaks it down for her husband.
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Chasing Mavericks opens wide across the Metroplex on Friday, October 26.