It was fun while it lasted. Still, it might be time to start wondering if the McConaissance is finally over. Hard on the heels of January’s god-awful Serenity, we’re now treated to The Beach Bum — a shambling, self-indulgent inside joke about a perpetually stoned holy fool from the Florida Keys named Moondog. I’ll give you one guess who plays him.
Simultaneously tailor-made for Matthew McConaughey’s nude, bongo-playing offscreen persona and, I’m being charitable here, a parody of it, the latest outsider-art film from writer-director Harmony Korine is a grab bag of cloying dazed-and-confused affectations in search of a plot. If there’s been a more annoying character in the movies this year, I haven’t met him.
Dressed in a trashy parade of Sammy Hagar cabana wear and rarely without a Pabst Blue Ribbon or a monster joint clenched in his tanned fists, Moondog is the life of the party. He’s also a once-promising poet who’s gone to seed, obliterating brain cells courtesy of his heiress wife (Isla Fisher). Korine, the former enfant terrible behind 2013’s Spring Breakers, captures Moondog’s wild nights with a sensualist’s eye for Miami Vice sunsets — and a creep’s leer for topless women.
But all the sun-kissed decadence doesn’t add up to much more than an exhausting excuse for folks like Zac Efron, Jonah Hill, and Martin Lawrence to drop in and make cartoonish cameos. The only good thing to be said for The Beach Bum is that it looks like McConaughey had a blast making it. Sitting through it, however, is another story. D+
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