'Seven Days in Utopia' is a worthwhile golf flick
After seeing a sneak preview of “Seven Days in Utopia” last night, I’ve come to the conclusion once again that golf movies are hard to do. They appeal to such a limited audience, authentic golf scenes are difficult to recreate and the stories are usually difficult to keep lively.
But “Utopia,” based on sports psychologist Dr. David Cook’s book, “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia,” really isn’t about golf; it simply uses it to send a message. As a lady friend of mine told me, it “was refreshing to see men discussing real life.”
With that said, the golf scenes are probably about as good as you’ll see, primarily because Lucas Black, who plays the main character Luke Chisolm, is a legit golfer and athlete. His swings look professional, and the golf action seems fairly plausible.
Still, that takes a back seat to the main story, which seems slower moving on film than it did in the book for some reason. The plot revolves around a struggling tour pro who loses his way and find himself in the Texas Hill Country town of Utopia. There he’s found by an old rancher sage played by Robert Duvall. As usual, Duvall plays his role well as mentor, giving unorthodox lessons in golf and life.
Now for the criticism: Callaway Golf’s product placement was so over the top, it was distracting. The hats, the balls, the clubs – even when Luke reunites with his estranged father/caddie after seven days, dad presents with him a brand new Callaway driver.
The final golf scene goes on too long. K.J. Choi, who never spoke, plays the tour’s top-ranked player, a fella named T.K. Oh, who pretty much does nothing but drive par 4s and glare. My guess is that’s where the movie loses much of its non-golf audience. But when it does wrap it up, it wraps up nicely, so I won’t spoil it.
In short, “Utopia” wasn’t disappointing, perhaps a little better than I would have expected. I give it a “B,” but be sure to read the book: You’ll get more out of it.
“Seven Days in Utopia” opens in theaters nationwide on Sept. 2.
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