Title – The Beach Bum (2019)
Director – Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers)
Cast – Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Zac Efron, Martin Lawrence, Jonah Hill
Plot – Miami stoner/poet Moondog (McConaughey) is pressured to release some new content while dealing with issues in his marriage to Minnie (Fisher) but Moondog refuses to play by the rules as he lives life the way he wants to live it.
“One day I will swallow up the world, and when I do, I hope you all perish violently”
Review by Eddie on 11/02/2020
If you’ve seen the trailers for The Beach Bum or anything that director Harmony Korine has made in the past (in what’s been a very divisive career so far), it should come as no surprise that this Matthew McConaughey starring stoner “comedy” is likely to offend and bore most and absolutely rock the world of a few select viewers that find joy in watching McConaughey’s poet Moondog traverse around the stunning water surrounds of Miami for 90 minutes.
There’s very little plot, narrative or seemingly point to Korine’s newest dosage of neon tinged oddities as Moondog works on a new collection of life musings for publication, has to deal with relationship and fatherhood dramas that includes issues with his wife Minnie (an underutilised Isla Fisher), rehab with Zac Efron’s Flicker and parties with Snoop Dogg’s hip hop star Lingerie.
You don’t expect a Harmony Korine film to follow any particular rule book as the director has always ensured that his films are everything but ordinary but despite a great sense of visuals and McConaughey’s no doubt method performance that seems like a riff of his real life persona, The Beach Bum fails to justify existence as we are treated to rambling scene after rambling scene that features far too much filler and time wasting to ever become the fever dream it so clearly wants to be.
Similar in nature to classic gonzo drug addled trip Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Beach Bum clearly wants to throw us into the mindset of a woman loving, work hating, grass smoking “genius” but Korine struggles to make Moondog an actual likeable or fun figure and while McConaughey even at his worst point can be devilishly charming and engaging, he too can’t save The Beach Bum from becoming nothing more than a trip to boredom with a lot of wasted talent at its disposal.
Surrounding his leading man with talented performers of all shapes and sizes, that also includes bit parts by Martin Lawrence, Jonah Hill and Jimmy Buffett as Jimmy Buffett seemed like a sure fire win to make an enjoyable comedic yarn but Korine’s inability to make us care for or like a single one of these characters makes you wish someone else could’ve made this story into a cohesive and interesting whole.
Perhaps it was never the intent of Korine in the first place, as one character says to Moondog at a pivotal moment in the film, “You know what I like the most about being rich? You can just be horrible to people and they just have to take it” it feels almost as if Korine is suggesting the seemingly untalented Moondog is a representation of the filmmaker himself, able to make whatever film he feels like and we just have to endure it.
Final Say –
Despite some nice scenery and visual work, The Beach Bum is a criminal waste of a great cast and a potentially Big Lebowski like comedic yarn, The Beach Bum is a major disappointment for all involved and a misguided feature from a to self-assured filmmaker.
1 dolphin tour out of 5