The Beach Bum review – Harmony Korine reaches a Zen state of unfunny

Matthew McConaughey is insufferable as a stoner poet in Korine’s awful non-comedy, which also features Isla Fisher, Snoop Dogg, Jonah Hill and Zac Efron

If you can imagine Matthew McConaughey doing a very, very creepy and rubbish version of the Dude from The Big Lebowski … well go ahead and imagine it if you want. However disagreeable an experience that would be, it could at least be over in a few seconds – less painful than seeing him do it for real over 97 minutes in this terrible film.

Writer-director Harmony Korine achieves a Zen state of unfunny with this pointless non-comedy, featuring McConaughey on insufferable form as a stoner and wild-man force of nature named Moondog who has neglected his vocation as a poet and is now just coasting on his charisma and big-dick energy – and the fact that he doesn’t need to worry about money because his wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) is very rich.

She’s having an affair with his best friend, Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), though that doesn’t seem to affect McConaughey’s permanent grin of self-satisfaction. Nothing does, in fact. Then something bad happens and – although this, too, doesn’t affect McConaughey’s unbearable one-note performance – Moondog has to shape up and write the sub-Ginsberg masterpiece all his friends know he’s got in him.

There are cameos for Jonah Hill, Zac Efron and Martin Lawrence. (Only an appearance from James Franco would have put the lid on it.)

Korine demonstrated some black-comic style with Spring Breakers (2012), where the pornification of everything at least had some point, and his bizarre, lo-fi video-fetish comedy Trash Humpers (2009) will probably achieve cult status. But this can only provoke something like awe that something so awful can still get made.

Contributor

Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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