Movie Review: San Andreas (2015)
Last year it was Godzilla. This year it’s an earthquake. What shitty thing will Hollywood do to San Francisco next year?
Maybe show us “San Andreas” again.
This is a movie to watch only when you’re surrounded by a lot of friends, and a lot of booze, and you take turns lobbing insults at the screen since the screen spends so much time lobbing insults at you. We watched it because Patricia loves the Rock, and I like the Rock—he was the best part of the WWF in the late ’90s by a long shot—but Rock, dude, get a better agent. I don’t know how someone with so much charisma keeps making such godawful movies.
It’s a shame about Ray
The Rock is Ray, a helicopter rescue guy in L.A., and in the cold open we see him rescue a pretty blonde with cleavage whose car goes off an embankment because she’s not paying attention. A local news crew, headed by super pretty Serena (Archie Panjabi), films it all. But then Ray comes home to divorce papers from wife Emma (Carla Gugino), a pretty brunette with cleavage who is now engaged to an architect named Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffudd, poor bastard, taking a paycheck to be a cowardly asshole.). Ray and Emma also have a daughter named Blake (Alexandra Daddario), a pretty brunette with fantastic cleavage, as anyone who’s seen the first season of “True Detective” can attest. That HBO show was Ms. Daddrio’s “Uma Thurman in 'Dangerous Liaisons'” moment; the moment every exec in Hollywood stood up and took notice. As it were.
Elsewhere, there’s a brainiac named Lawrence (Paul Giamatti), who, with his Asian colleague Dr. Kim Park (Will Yun Lee), figures out how to predict when big earthquakes hit. They do this right before a big earthquake hits, but not with enough lead time for Dr. Park to actually survive it. OK, he would have survived if that shitty little girl hadn’t been too frightened to get off the bridge. He had to rescue her and then die, leaving us Asianless. Unless you count Serena, who returns to film Lawrence warning everyone that an even bigger earthquake is about to hit. How big? The biggest ever. The Rock’s biceps big.
So what happens besides the shaking? What's the plot?
- The Rock rescues Emma from the top of some swanky LA building where she’s having lunch with an inexplicably bitchy woman played for two seconds by Kylie Minogue.
- Blake takes herself and her breasts to San Francisco and waits in the lobby of Daniel’s building, where she meets an endearingly nervous job applicant named Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), who’s also endearingly Bri’ish. Which is even beh-ah. Plus he’s brought along his kid brother named ... wait for it ... Oliver! (Art Parkinson). Apparently they’re saving Artful Dodger for the sequel.
- When the quake hits in SF, Daniel totally abandons Blake like the douche we knew he was, but like 10 times worse. But he gets his later. Splat!
For some reason, director Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”), screenwriter Carlton Cuse (“Nash Bridges,” “Lost,” “Bates Motel”), and the fine folks at New Line Cinema decided to make almost everyone in California assholes. I get Daniel; he’s a longtime movie cliché. But Kylie? The chick in the car? Hey, what’s the first thing you do during an earthquake? How about loot? Even better: with a hot-wired truck. And if someone like the Rock tries to take the truck to save his daughter in San Francisco? All five-foot-nothing of you should totally pull a gun on him. Because that’ll work.
Everyone’s shitty but the Rock, who, in the midst of rescuing half of California by helicopter, plane and boat, admits to wifey that he didn’t let her in after their other daughter died in a river-rafting expedition. That’s the backstory we get as people die below. And it sets up our ending in which Blake and her boobs are trapped underwater and the Rock and his mighty biceps finally get to her. But too late? In the safety of the speed boat, with wifey and Brits watching, he tries CPR. He pumps her chest again and again and again and again and again and again and again and...
She’ll live, but she’ll be flat-chested.
It’s a shame about us
And in the end, as an American flag unfurls in magic-hour light over what’s left of the Golden Gate bridge, we get the following conversation:
Wifey: What now?
Rock: Now ... we rebuild.*
Wifey: But Daniel’s dead. Who’s going to design the buildings? You? Don't make me laugh.
Rock: Just ... look at the flag. We need a happy ending.
Wifey: With millions of people dead?
Rock: Right, but millions of shitty people. The best survived. My biceps, our daughter’s boobs, and Oliver and Pip over there. And the camera will pan up as the music wells up and everyone in the audience with any lick of sense will throw up a little in their mouths. But they’ll be back next summer. Because they’re the people. The shitty people.
*We do get the first two lines. Which are bad enough to qualify for worst ending of the year.
See you next summer, San Francisco!