It was probably inevitable that the movie wouldn't live up to the poster. Unless you count Lilo & Stitch, this is the first of several surfer-girl movies out of the gate, and it seems clear that in the rush to put it out, a script was the last thing on Universal's mind. And Lilo & Stitch should be counted, because in many ways, this is the same movie, minus humor and charm. Once more the setting is Hawaii, and once more we have a girl in her late teens (Anne Marie, played by Bosworth) forced to take care of a little sister (Mika Boorem, a.k.a. the young Drew Barrymore in Riding in Cars With Boys and the young Charlize Theron in Mighty Joe Young). In place of an alien bugaboo, however, substitute a nebulous phobia: Anne Marie wants to be the most successful female surfer ever, but she can't ride the big waves because the last time she tried, her head split open on a rock. In spite of her fear, she's entered a big surfing contest. When a football team comes to town, a group that consists of several hugely overweight black guys and one perfectly shaped Caucasian TV-star type (Matt Davis, Legally Blonde), it's obvious that romance is in the cards.
Will Anne Marie get over her fears? Will love distract her? Does her new hunk really care about her, or is she a mere summer fling? Will there be a Mountain Dew product placement? It hardly matters, since the point of the movie is the surfing, and director John Stockwell (of the smarter, superior teen movie crazy/beautiful) and producer Brian Grazer (of virtually every movie Universal's released lately) are themselves avid surfers. Yet they don't trust their audience, so some of the scenes are laden with the usual quick cuts, zooming cameras, drop-frames, speed changes and so on that have burdened action movies since Saving Private Ryan. The surf scenes shot in a straightforward manner are exciting; too bad there aren't as many of them.
A bigger problem is the focus on Bosworth, who's the least interesting of the three poster girls. We see some real female pro surfers in cameos, and they all look like ladies who could handle themselves in a bar fight. Bosworth, however, feels insubstantial and looks generic.
On the plus side, there's a neat hip-hop remix of Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" that neatly ties Blue Crush to teen movies of the past such as The Karate Kid, which featured the original version on its soundtrack. But another soundtrack choice points to a general cluelessness: P.O.D.'s cynical post-Columbine dirge "Youth of the Nation" is played in one key scene as a triumphant anthem, a misstep on the level of Ronald Reagan's exalting "Born in the U.S.A." for promoting old-fashioned patriotism. And the less said about the Lenny Kravitz "hit single," the better.