Surfing appeals to me, and I gravitate to films where surfing is a focus. Ocean Boy, starring Luke Hemsworth and young pro surfer Rasmus King, isn’t about surfing, but King shows off his prowess in the waves. The story by director Tyler Atkins (along with Drue Metz) isn’t as engaging or fluid as King’s (and Hemsworth’s) surfing, but it is entertaining nonetheless.
King plays Rockit, a boy whose father, Bosch (Hemsworth), has gotten himself on the wrong side of a crooked cop. Bosch and his buddies peddled weed, but they get pressured into peddling coke for Derek (Martin Sacks). A bush fire (and a ceiling fan) destroys the product sending Bosch on the run and taking Rockit along. Rockit, whose mother doesn’t seem to want him, thinks he going on a big vacation adventure with his dad.
King impresses as an actor showing as much promise and comfort on the set as he does in the surf. He and Hemsworth have excellent chemistry on screen, and scenes between Rockit and Bosch feel emotionally real. It’s a coming-of-age film that tears at the heart. More than anything Rockit wants stability and love. In Ash Ash (Savannah La Rain), he finds love, but his father’s inadequacies create nothing but instability. We watch this young man mature and come to terms with his parents’ shortcomings and inability to parent.
I truly can’t say enough about Ocean Boy’s young star. Atkins’ story lacks real heart but we want to connect with Rockit. He creates a character that has a wide-eyed innocence that melts the heart, and we are lucky to watch him hold on to that despite his situation. Bosch is such a mess; his actions are more angering and frustrating than interesting, even though Hemsworth is wonderful at playing him. King fills Rockit with such genuine innocence and intensity we can’t help but love him.
There is a great deal of cheesiness in Atkin’s tale, and the story generally lacks substance, but the leading men shine together. La Rain, too, makes the film worth a look, but ultimately, it is a transparent plot with a tired message. Because of the cast of Ocean Boy, we can handle some aspects of the not-so-fresh plot line and because Rockit so warrants our care, we want to stay for the ending in case Rockit needs us to help him out.