'Sufer Dude' is a stoner mess
In the midst of a cold winter, a good surfer movie filled with waves, bikinis, music and sunshine should just about fit the bill. And with the uber-loveable real-life beach king Matthew McConaughey leading a cast that includes Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, it's almost impossible to screw it up.
The once widely anticipated "Surfer, Dude" is so bad that it may never even make it here. It's getting yanked out of theaters at record pace and will end up pointed straight at the home video market three-for-a-buck bin.
What went wrong? McConaughey did a huge disservice to the lifestyle he supposedly loves, starring in this stoner epic that is less about the sport of surfing than it is about endless pot smoking and topless ditzy beach bunnies. It's best for him if you don't see it, because if this gets too much attention, Matty's career is going to suffer, as well as his rep at the real waterfront.
The story has longboarding "soul-surfer" Steve Addington returning to Malibu for the summer to find his mellow hometown hero vibe corrupted. Surfing has gone corporate, brah, and Addington finds himself being forced into virtual reality video games and reality TV. Even worse, the waves flatline, and his cash and weed are running out fast. There's nothing particularly funny about this comedy, and it totally fails to reflect the joy of the surfing lifestyle. It's actually painful to try to watch to the end.
Sadly, the movie only taps Harrelson and Nelson for their hemp notoriety. They pop up from time to time in non-roles lost in this wandering, vapid storyline. Alexi Gilmore is pretty as a corporate kingpin's daughter who falls for the perennially-shirtless MacSexy character, but it's far from enough to save this flick, which should have at least managed some cool surfing and beach scenery to help us through the blizzard season, but fails to deliver even that.
This coulda, shoulda, woulda been such a good picture, but instead every scene is flat and dull, and the constant glorification of drugs is a total turn-off. An actor finally lands the roll he seems born to play, and it ends up wallowing on the beach of mediocrity, gasping for creative air, like a beached whale.
* Surfer, Dude is rated R for pervasive drugs, some nudity and language. Run time 88 minutes. Zero stars.
WHAT'S AHEAD? On the plus side, the buzz is good for some interesting pictures in the months to come. One to watch for - the pairing of Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck in "State of Play," in which a congressman's mistress is mysteriously murdered. With director Kevin McDonald ("The Last King of Scotland"), it should be a good watch.