San Andreas

The fault here does not lie in the stars, but only with those paying admission.

San AndreasHow could a movie with such spectacular special effects be so God-awful as San Andreas? The script is as maudlin as it is pedestrian, and it will leave you shaking your head as you watch a Pacific tsunami inundate San Francisco.

And while I speak about special effects, take a look on how the camera focuses repeatedly on the chest of Alexandra Daddario, the 20-year old girl whose rescue consumes two-thirds of the film. Watch her run! Watch her bend over to tie a tourniquet on the leg of her love interest! See if you are not reminded of the young women attired in tight dresses and 5-inch heels doing the sports rundown on ESPN. If Ms. Daddario fails as an actress, there will always be a job waiting for her telling St. Louis baseball fans like me what the Cardinals did last night.

Just as he did in this year’s Furious 7, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is called upon to save the world. Here, he is a Los Angeles fireman flying rescue helicopters, and it is simply amazing how his principal assignment is to save young, beautiful women. Beauty may only be skin deep, but it will quickly have The Rock on your side.

As for the film’s plot, let me just say that after a massive earthquake rocks California, Mr. Johnson is must first save his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) from a burning high rise building in Los Angeles and then find a way to San Francisco to save his daughter. His talent is amazing, as along the way he borrows trucks while flying both a helicopter and plane. He’s even able to guide a powerboat over a tsunami. The Rock is a man of many talents.

Nonetheless, what is particularly annoying  about the film is Rock’s ability to abandon his commitment to the general public to go on a singular pursuit of his lovely, “bouncy” daughter. With millions of people needing his aid, he quickly ignores his professional commitment even though his daughter is enjoying the company of her mother’s new billionaire boyfriend.

Yes, I’m well aware that this film raked in over $50 million in North America during its opening weekend. Again, there is nothing second rate about the special effects, and the falling high rise buildings and the chaos produced after the tsunami hits San Francisco are all first-rate. However, you know from the beginning that only the bad guy is going to die. Like it or note, nothing beats having The Rock focused on your rescue.

As an aside, the wonderful Paul Giamatti has a small roll as a seismologist who is dedicated to studying the source of earthquakes and making predictions. Despite having little else to do other than stare at Etch-a-Sketch earthquake analysis and repeatedly hiding under his office desk, Mr. Giamatti always adds some interest to any film.

So let me end by saying that for those of you who like watching the ESPN female reporters clad in tight leather dresses, this film is right up your alley. For everyone else, save yourself the agony and stay at home.