Gratingly sentimental and simplistic, Julio Quintana’s “Blue Miracle,” set in Cabo San Lucas in 2014, turns a potentially compelling underdog tale into a sermon. But if you’re in the mood to see Dennis Quaid learning and growing — and engaging in sappy conversations about fatherhood — then step right up.
As the prizewinning fisherman Wade Malloy, Quaid evinces a manic desperation that, were it tended to, would be inconvenient to the script’s homily-strewn march toward uplift. Temperamentally grumpy and ethically malleable, Malloy learns he can only enter the latest fishing tournament if he has a local man on his team. Enter Papa Omar (Jimmy Gonzales), the saintly director of an imperiled orphanage. In debt to the bank for over $100,000, Omar needs the contest’s prize money to avoid eviction. That he doesn’t know one end of a fishing rod from the other is seemingly irrelevant.
Based on a true story, “Blue Miracle” suffers mightily from slapdash plotting and superficial moralizing. (A scene where Omar is tempted by his criminal past needlessly emphasizes his reformed bona fides.) Realism is not a priority: When the orphanage is flooded by Hurricane Odile, the water appears to disappear of its own accord. Neither is it made clear why three orphans — broadly stamped as the smart one, the funny one and the tough kid with issues — are also included on the fishing crew, given their contribution to the task at hand can charitably be described as minimal.
What is obvious, though, is that if the movie’s depiction of events is even close to accurate, its outcome is indeed a miracle.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch on Netflix.