Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsSXSW 2019: The Beach Bum Review

Keith NoakesMarch 21, 2019

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Synopsis: THE BEACH BUM follows the hilarious misadventures of Moondog, a rebellious rogue who always lives life by his own rules. (VVS Films)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, and Isla Fisher

Writer: Harmony Korine

Director: Harmony Korine

Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 95mins


This film will certainly not be for everyone. Writer/director Harmony Korine is an acquired state (based on the reputation of Spring Breakers which I have yet to see). In his new film, The Beach Bum, you will know right away whether you like it or not though at the end of the day, is sure to be another divisive one. The story here follows a larger-than-life stoner named Moon Dog (McConaughey) as he tries to get his life back on track and reassess his priorities after a tragedy would hit close to home. Because of Moon Dog’s stoner, free-spirit nature, his path wasn’t necessarily straightforward.

Whether or not you care about Moon Dog will impact your enjoyment of the film as the story is pretty much him for the most part. The story is ridiculous, the characters are over-the-top, and the humor is borderline stupid but what else would you expect from a stoner film? All of these elements still somehow work here. Moon Dog was compelling to watch as he stumbled around the Florida countryside, encountering plenty of fun characters along the way and finding himself in a series of compromising situations though not much would faze him.

The film may be brimming in style and the script may contain countless quotable lines but none of the film would have worked if not for McConaughey’s excellence performance as Moon Dog. He single-handedly anchors the story and arguably kept it from falling off the rails. McConaughey’s energetic performance was so fun to watch as he simply let loose here while avoiding making him a caricature. The film also boasts an impressive case besides McConaughey with Zac Efron, Jonah Hill, and Martin Lawrence delivering great performances in supporting roles.

Overall, The Beach Bum is an immensely entertaining stoner fantasy film with plenty of ridiculous and over-the-top moments that work surprisingly well here. While the film and it’s style of humor will certainly not be for everyone, it still has plenty of redeeming qualities. The impressive cast was solid of but it was Matthew McConaughey’s energetic performance that ties it all together.

Score: 9/10

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