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Low tide Writing exposes the wreckage of 'Into the Blue'

Hoo boy, run away. Get as far from this one as you can. If a friend insists on paying to sit in the dark with Paul Walker's tummy and Jessica Alba's buns, say no.

Yes, "Into the Blue" is as bad as it looks, but smells worse. Suspenseful as a "Baywatch" episode, its violence is awkward, its climax confounding, its message pretty rank. If they turned the sound off during the movie, you'd probably hear the buzzing of flies.

Tummy (Walker) and Buns (Alba) are two beach babes who live in a trailer on a Bahamian beach. She's a docent at the local Sea World knockoff; he spends his time bailing out a slowly sinking sloop in the surf by their trailer. Theirs is a world frozen in the dewy haze of a perfect late afternoon. They make out on the deck of the sloop, in the car as they swerve through traffic, in their bed at night in preparation for another day of, well, making out.

It's a rough life, which is why Tummy is always looking for buried treasure in the sand bars. One day he, Buns, an old buddy named Attitude (Scott Caan) and Attitude's babe-of-the-moment (Ashley Scott) discover the wreckage of both a sunken plane full of cocaine and the Zephyr, a legendary pirate ship. Perfect! Attitude suggests they boost the cocaine, sell it and use the money to finance the excavation of the Zephyr.

Millionaires and anthropological heroes, bro! What a dream combination. With the fortune, Tummy and Buns will be able to retire to a tropical island and . . .

Ah, you see? That's where "Into the Blue" stops working. Not that it ever starts. Walker, Alba, Caan and Scott are slack-jawed actors serving slack-jawed material. The first half-hour of the film consists of them having a good time. Jet skiing. Sunbathing. Guzzling Coronas.

There are risks, though, when getting involved in maritime trafficking. The Bahamas of "Into the Blue" are crawling with incompetent drug lords whose only worthy foes are our incompetent heroes. On the villain front, we're stuck with Josh Brolin (or Nick Nolte Lite) as Bates, the sadistic sea rat behind the coke run.

Not that Brolin has much to work with, even though he's given the year's best movie line: "The Zephyr, huh?" he mumbles, balking at its alleged discovery. "Maybe we'll meet up in Never Neverland. I heard Santa Claus is going to be there. With my coke."

Say what? Another telling exchange: "How much have you missed me?" Attitude asks. "Every minute," says Buns. Um.

INTO THE BLUE

Review: 1 star (Out of 4)

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