Beautiful Wave [Blu-ray]
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Aimee Teegarden ("Friday Night Lights", Prom, Scream 4) stars as Nicole, a shy New York City high school student still mourning the drowning death of her beloved dad. But when Nicole is sent to California to spend the summer with the free-spirited grandmother she barely knows, she'll learn a shocking family secret she yearns to understand. Now on a quest to Baja Mexico, Nicole will discover friendship, romance, the thrill of surfing, and a link to her late father that could change her life forever. Patricia Richardson ("Home Improvement"), Ben Milliken (Blue Crush 2), Alicia Ziegler ("Wildfire"), and Lance Henriksen (Scream 3) co-star in this coming of age story of one teen's journey in search of her future, herself and the healing power of a BEAUTIFUL WAVE.
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The only enticing part is when the gang ends up crossing the border and has to deal with a couple barely understandable border patrolmen who'd like nothing more than to arrest a bunch of kids that certainly look like they're up to no good. Right from the get go you can tell it's a low budget movie because there's an eerie silence in the background in between lines that makes it feel more like a high school play.
So what IS this supposed to be about? The girl is supposed to travel around with a map to uncover family secrets but trust me, there's NO adventure occurring whatsoever. At least, not during the first half when practically nothing at all happens. Beautiful Wave is too bland and doesn't deliver a worthwhile enough storyline to contain any adventure. A must skip.
Beautiful Wave is primarily a chick flick, filled with a little action, some heartache, secrets, plenty of drama and beautiful scenery.
Nicole (Aimee Teegarden of Friday Night Lights) reluctantly spends a summer with her grandmother (Patricia Richardson of Home Improvement).
Nicole's father died when she was a young girl by drowning. Since that time she's had a fear of water, even though she is a great swimmer, and spends most of her time wrapped in a book.
She slowly begins to warm to her free spirited grandmother, whose own husband never came back from Vietnam.
On beknown to the two women, the grandfather Jimmy (Lance Henriksen of Pumpkinhead) is alive living far down in Mexico where he and a comrade save sea turtles from pouchers.
The grandmother gives an old 1962 surf van to Nicole, that belonged to the grandfather she never knew. Armed with that, a map that shows surfing locations including one called Beautiful Wave, loads up with three friends and begins an adventure.
The crew includes Kayla (Alicia Ziegler) the surf shop manager, who helps the grandmother, Jeff (Ben Milliken) who has a thing for Nicole and Danny (David Thomas Jenkins), Jeff's best friend and the bad boy of the bunch.
Most guys will find Beautiful Wave boring. Most girls will find it charming. I liked it primarily because of the vintage van, cool scenery and a great soundtrack filled with wispy seldom-heard beach music.
Helen Slater plays Nicole's mother Jane. Prolific veteran Lance Henriksen appears as "Baja Man," a surfer and environmentalist protecting sea turtle eggs from poachers.
"Beautiful Wave" is part surf movie, part road movie (covering from California to Mexico), part coming-of-age film where the heroine finds herself, and even attempts to be a romance, but fails to truly be any of them. The problem is simple: the script. The story is contrived and implausible. Paper-thin characters make unnatural decisions just to keep the plot going. Heavy-handed direction from David Mueller doesn't help.
The photography is beautiful and the surf scenes are decent if not outstanding, but to make a more emotionally involving drama we need something more than that.
If you're expecting an action-packed, slick Hollywood surf film, then you might not get into it. But if you're in the mood for a sweet meander, with heart and a deep sense of place, then I think you'll fall in love with it.