Things are starting to pick up at the multiplexes. There were actually two possiblities opening this weekend. Fever Pitch has some things going for it. I like Drew Barrymore and Nick Hornby has been very lucky with movies made from his books. But the early reviews have been mixed and the trailers haven’t looked all that great.

Besides I was in the mood for something loud and stupid and Sahara fits the bill quite nicely. People have been comparing it to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Of course, most of the them have been the stars of the film. I don’t know that anybody’s been saying that who hasn’t been paid to. And I’m not sure they want to invite that kind of comparison.

Sahara is pure formula. Dirk Pitts (Matthew McConaughey) is looking for a sunken Civil War ironclad which has somehow wound up in the title desert. He’s accompanied by his wacky sidekick, Al Giordino (Steve Zahn, who was born for these rolls) and Eva Rojas, a babe doctor for the World Health Organization (Penelope Cruz, likewise born to play babes) She’s investigating a plague when she runs into the two boys.

It turns out of course that the stakes are much higher than at first thought. In fact it blows up to Bondian proportions. Fortunately Pitts is an ex-Navy seal, so he can handle it.

The whole thing is ridiculous, but good naturedly so. The interplay between Zahn and McConaughey is funny and entertaining. You don’t eeven mind the places where the plot stretches to the breaking point because you’re having fun.

The only problem I can see is that we have to wait until the last scene before seeing Penelope Cruz in a bikini. That would never do in a Bond film.


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