By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is a poet who lives in Miami with his ridiculously rich wife Minnie (Isla Fisher), or as Moondog lovingly calls her, Minnieboo. However, he will just take off and slum it down in the Keys quite often it seems. As Moondog puts it, he “has to go low to get high” but he always returns to Minnieboo and their mansion. Well, on their daughter’s wedding night Minnie dies in a car accident and in her will she forces Moondog to finish his novel before he is able to have his inheritance.
So, we follow Moondog as he goes on a hedonistic journey of discovery looking to find himself and his place in the world without his Minnieboo. Along the way we meet a whole cast of characters including: Jimmy Buffet, Lingerie (Snoop Dogg basically playing himself), Captain Wack (Martin Lawrence) a screwed-up Dolphin tour captain, Flicker (Zac Efron) an early 20 something who Moondog meets at rehab and helps him get back to the Keys after a run-in with the law, and his manager Lewis (Jonah Hill) as a southern drawled smooth talker who wants Moondog to finish his novel so he can make some money off him.
This entire cast is great. From McConaughey all the way down to the smallest supporting character. It’s as if Harmony Korine knew the atmosphere he wanted in his film and he kept the party going off camera. This was the part McConaughey was born to play. He is having a ton of fun here and it wouldn’t shock me if filming took a year just because he was having so much fun. Not only is he having fun, but everyone else is as well. His interactions with everyone are hilarious and it’s not only a testament to McConaughey but to all of the supporting actors fully committed to making Korine’s beach bum vision come to fruition. Isla Fisher is intoxicating as Minnie, how they ended up together would be the prequel I’d love to see. Snoop Dogg is great; I wasn’t sure how his acting would be, but I think he benefited from basically playing himself. Lawrence, Efron, and Hill make full use of their minimal screen time and each is memorable in their parts.
Korine’s vision is such a unique one that it’s not for everyone, but I’m one of the people that love his style. This film might be a little style over substance, but that’s Korine’s point. This is a story about Moondog and follows him through x number of months and he just indulges in life and has fun. Korine provides a brilliant soundtrack that sounds like a CD you’d find at target of Summertime Jams for the beach. Each song perfectly sets the tone for the scene and provides the perfect vibes to keep Moondog’s party going. I’d love to see the script, because either the writing is excellent with the Moondog’s interactions or everyone in this film is brilliant at improv.
Korine really was able to bring Moondog to life and that’s either through his writing or his direction provided to McConaughey and Snoop Dogg. Their interactions especially feel like something conceived out of leaving the camera running during takes and each smoking some sticky icky. Whatever it was, Korine knows how to get the best out of his actors. The mood he set with his music choices and then the color and lighting of his films just help provide the perfect ambiance. He may not be everyone’s favorite director, but he always has a clear vision and knows how to execute those visions.
As fun as this movie is it begins to feel a little longer than its 90-minute runtime. Moondog’s antics begin to get more ridiculous and almost repetitive. I could see for many people how this film could really wear on them. I found the performances kept it from devolving into a repetitive bore, but I’m also a Harmony Korine fan so if you don’t like him or have never seen any of his films you’ve been warned.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pleasure-seeking journey of The Beach Bum. It’s filled with fun, lots of laughs, and is nothing more than that. If you’re looking for a fun summer stoner flick then this is for you. I could see this becoming a cult classic in the future.
The Beach Bum (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time weed is smoked by anyone.
Do a Shot: for every boat journey.
Take a Drink: every time Moondog drinks.
Finish your Beer: for poor Captain Wack.