Turistas Review

Dec 01, 2006 | 5:27am EST

Maybe the most ridiculous part of the ridiculousness is Turistas' lack of subtlety with which everything kicks off. Immediately after the opening scene in which we meet the clear-cut tourists--Alex (Josh Duhamel) Bea (Olivia Wilde) Amy (Beau Garrett) Finn (Desmond Askew) and Liam (Max Brown)--their bus crashes and falls off a cliff in Brazil. They meet fellow foreigner Pru (Melissa George) who is fluent in Portuguese. The survivors stumble upon a hedonistically idyllic beach where they’re free to skinny dip drink and flirt (and more) with each other and the locals. Paradise ends when they wake up the next morning broke and barefoot. With the aid of a local Kiko (Agles Steib) they wander around trying to find help and transportation. But all they find is trouble at every turn before Kiko finally takes them to the house of someone he knows. It’s okay he’s a doctor! Oh the prettiness of this cast! Prettiest of them all is Duhamel aka Tad Hamilton/Fergie’s boyfriend. For female viewers it’s simply not going to matter that Turistas isn’t a shining moment for the TV's Las Vegas star--his on-off shirt ratio is all they’ll see. But it should be noted that if Duhamel didn’t look as though he just sprinted over from a special exotic edition of an Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot his performance unexpressive and lacking urgency in the right spots would be a failure to everyone. There’s plenty to make the guys happy too as Wilde (The O.C.) Garrett and the uncredited local Brazilian women are happy to ditch their clothes. George (The Amityville Horror) is the prude of the group only stripping down to her g-string! She’s also the movie’s only real talent but it’ll be wasted on the sex-and-gore thirsty who willingly go see Turistas. No guts no glory--which is to say it seems that if no guts (read: organs) are shown a horror movie by today’s standards just can’t measure up. By that criterion Turistas succeeds; everywhere else it fails which as we’ve seen doesn’t mean audiences won’t eat it up. In fact director John Stockwell(crazy/beautiful Into the Blue...must we go on?) makes the audience think just seldom enough that people might just fall victim for this crassness. Stockwell seems to mimic Eli Roth’s Hostel template in every way possible down to the story that’s merely set in a different locale--but he winds up elevating Roth’s hugely successful gore-fest even more than when it was released and revered. Where Roth’s movie unapologetically basks in its (bloody) glow and appeals to true horror fans Stockwell’s seems confused as though it wants to do the same and win over say those who made I Know What You Did Last Summer a hit. The cinematography clearly trying to set up screams with near pitch-blackness is actually too dark often rendering the movie literally unwatchable--aside from being qualitatively unwatchable. And the script from first-timer Michael Ross is also shaky though not as much so as the hands it was placed into.

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