The Beach Bum

What smells like a skunk? This stoner comedy from Harmony Korine

I attended a special screening of Harmony Korine’s latest written and directed work, “The Beach Bum,” and they were nice enough to give us promotional hats and a scratch and sniff card. I spent the whole movie smelling that card, and the weed-related scent was more interesting than this movie.

It shows us the crazy and chilled life of a stoner, but the way the movie handles it is either pointless or mean, depending on how you view the scenes. It’s supposed to be a hallucination, but you never really see the colors or fantasies. It’s all just lazy.

Matthew McConaughey stars as Moondog, a stoner, drinker, party animal, and creative writer, who spends most of his days high as a kite. His daughter Heather (Stefania LaVie Owen) is marrying a wimp (Joshua Ritter), and he and his wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) decide to finish the night off with some drugs and music. They end up in a car accident (not surprised), and Minnie ends up dead.

She apparently has written a will, being that she’s the rich one, not Moondog. Her terms and conditions are clear: half of the money goes to Heather, while the other half gets frozen, unless of course, if Moondog gets his new book published.

Heather can’t loan him any money to get by, and after wrecking his mansion, which he’s forbidden to enter by law, he gets sentenced to a year in rehab. He escapes with a younger pothead patient (Zac Efron), and starts working for his dolphin tour guide buddy (Martin Lawrence back on the screen for the first time since “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son”). And throughout his hallucinations, he continues to type his words on his typewriter.

Harmony Korine is also known for making “Spring Breakers,” an Indie hit, which got polarized reviews from critics and audiences. I was one of the people to dislike that film for being nauseating in its drugs, parties, and characters who are drawn with invisible ink.

“The Beach Bum” only works when McConaughey matches his character’s tone and style, and when Snoop Dogg provides a few laughs as his rapper buddy. The rest, however, relies too much on the drugs and booze, and less on the inspiration and lives stoners live. I guess that’s the whole point of a stoner’s life.

The film also has to be mean, when Moondog pushes people in the water and poking them in the butt, and when he and his family tease their new son-in-law for having a small Johnson. Even the daughter calls him “dependable.” Does every R-rated comedy have to be crass?

Its debatable about whether people will go for this or not, because I’ve heard laughs in the audience, and some people on Cinemascore give certain movies a C rating. I’m convinced that critics and audiences are wired differently, but I’m gonna say: this is too glazed for me to enjoy.

⭐️ 1/2

Categories: comedy

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