The Beach Bum (2019)

The Beach Bum is a Harmony Korine film for and about stoners, with all that entails.

Fun Fun Fun

by Alexa Dalby

The Beach Bum

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

The Beach Bum stars Matthew McConaughey, looking as if he’s having a good time going over the top and back again as obnoxious stoner Moondog. Always dressed in Hawaiian patterned shorts and shirt, sporting a straggling mullet, he rampages outrageously through an idyllic beachside Florida, relishing the flouting of all conventions and decency.

Though he was once a poet, his hedonistic lifestyle now is maintained by his loving rich wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) and he’s unperturbed by her relationship with Lingerie (Ray) – a laid-back Snoop Dogg. Other well-known faces putting in an appearance are Martin Lawrence as a sea captain, Zac Efron, Jonah Hill and Jimmy Buffett.

Korine has a good choice of music to pad out the sparse dialogue and there’s one poignant scene where Moondog and Minnie dance on a deserted quay to Peggy Lee’s ‘Is That All There Is?’.

That track could sum up The Beach Bum as a whole. It’s colourful and the Florida sea and sunsets are stunning, but the film looks as though it’s been edited with a pair of blunt scissors. And possibly by someone with their eyes closed. There’s scant regard for narrative structure or continuity – bizarre things just happen.

And in the end, the film sends out a paradoxical message. Never has the pursuit of ‘fun’ seemed quite so nihilistic.

The Beach Bum is released on 25 October 2019 in the UK.

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