Commentary

'Seven Days' not exactly Utopia

Updated: August 31, 2011, 2:55 PM ET
By Michael Collins | ESPN.com

Here's the storyline they tell you in "Seven Days in Utopia," which hits theaters this weekend:

"After a disastrous debut on the pro circuit, a young golfer finds himself stranded in Utopia, Texas, and welcomed by an eccentric rancher."

The golfer, Luke Chisolm, is played by Lucas Black, who in his own right is an extremely good golfer. Because of that talent, watching him play tournament golf is about as realistic as I've seen in a golf movie.

Robert Duvall plays eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford, who we find out was a pretty good pro back in the day himself.

Madison Burge plays Hannah in what I'd guess you'd call the "love interest." And Robert Bear plays Chuck the local boy who is supposed to be with Hannah, you know, because it's a small town ... the whole head cheerleader with the quarterback scenario.

Here are two things they don't tell you:

I talked to director Matt Russell after the premiere and he said the original finished movie was three hours long. That would have made a huge difference in character development and storyline. Hopefully, if this 90-minute movie makes it to DVD and Blu-ray, the "Directors Cut" will have his whole vision.

The big thing they don't tell you is that the film is heavily Christian themed, to which I'll say, like Seinfeld, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

But to not tell people that going in is like having a beautiful woman saying, "You wanna go to the club tonight and go dancing?" And then you pull into a parking lot that says, "Welcome to Ballroom Dancing 101."

Moviegoers might have a "what the" ... moment as a result. Now you might love ballroom dancing when you leave, but like many women have told me in the past, "Not telling me is still like lying to me."

If you have a pre-teen or teenage daughter and she is going on her first date and you are going to chaperone, this is the perfect movie. There are no sex scenes. Heck, there isn't even a kiss.

The lessons that are taught are wholesome and good, and when's the last time you can say that about a big studio movie? The golf that's played is real, and the temper tantrum that Chisolm displays I have seen first-hand on the golf course -- including a blow-up a golfer had with his father during a tournament. (It was ugly.)

Some of the things that are not believable are the extraordinary abilities Chisolm gains in such a short amount of time -- such as artistry with a paint brush. World No. 1 Luke Donald is an artist, but he went to school for it, and I've never seen him throw clubs and curse on the golf course.

The Golf Channel on-air talent also has a heavy presence in the movie and that makes the tournament broadcast enjoyable because you hear familiar voices.

One of the things that confused me was the fact that every golfer that had a cameo or made an appearance on the leaderboard matched their names except one. The main man to beat on the tour in the movie was K. Oh, played by K.J. Choi.

I couldn't stand the disconnect, so I asked his agent/manager Michael Kim why they changed Choi's name when everyone else got to use their own.

His answer: "Well, we didn't want the 'bad guy' in the movie to be K.J. Choi."

Uh ... OK. Like people are gonna come to golf tournaments and see K.J. and go, "there's that guy from the movie ... let's boo him!"

All in all it's a good movie that'll probably end up on the Lifetime Network. But I'd say read the book, then buy the DVD when it comes out -- unless you have a kid looking for a safe first date night movie. Mom and dad will both approve.

Michael Collins covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPNcaddie@gmail.com.