#REVIEW: “THE BEACH BUM”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
Writer/Director Harmony Korine is an anomaly. From his auspicious debut at the age of 19 as the Screenwriter of Larry Clark’s KIDS to his last effort where he directed James Franco to unforeseen heights in SPRING BREAKERS seven years ago, his movies challenge, entertain and infuriate as well. With THE BEACH BUM, the most weed-centric movie since Cheech and Chong days, Korine visual style is beyond reproach but the Movie lacks a cohesive story.
Matthew McConaughey plays Moondog, a once-renowned Poet who now only leads a hedonistic lifestyle in Key West. He had replaced writing with copious amounts of booze, drugs and sex. Garbed in garishly-coloured shirts with matching baggy shorts, his self-indulgence is fun to watch…at first. When he goes to Miami to attend his daughter’s wedding, we meet his wife Minnie (Isla Fisher), an heiress living in a mansion. Though technically still married, Minnie is now with Lingerie, a smooth drug dealer played to clichéd perfection by Snoop Dogg. Moondog and Minnie reignite their sexual passion to a tragic conclusion.
THE BEACH BUM essentially is a series of vignettes fueled by everything excessive and peppered with glorified cameos by name stars. Martin Lawrence, as a strung-out captain of a dolphin sighting boat, steals the Movie when we realize he can’t really tell the difference between dolphins and sharks. Zac Efron uses his minimal screen time to great effect. Jonah Hill, as Moondog’s literary agent, doesn’t quite nail the authenticity he showed in another movie about addiction, DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GO FAR ON FOOT. Which brings us to Matthew McConaughey. Since winning an Oscar, this is his first movie where he lets loose with his genius comedic timing. His maniacal giggle is infectious. His loosey-goosey strut is a joy to watch. It is also a performance that, through no fault of his, that becomes repetitive and irritating as it is the same thing over and over again, making it feel like a short Film that got stretch into a Feature. I am not sure what Harmony Korine wants us to take away from this Movie. Hedonism is fun? You’ll always somehow find money to indulge?
There is also a lot to admire in THE BEACH BUM. The Cinematography is sun-speckled and glorious to behold. Korine, as a Director, has finally found his “eye”. The Soundtrack, filled with Oldies, is outstanding. Most importantly, everyone on-screen looks like they are having the time of their lives.
VVS Films release THE BEACH BUM Friday, March 29, 2019.