Beach Bum: Korine’s Stoner Comedy Starring McConaughey Flops

Matthew McConaughey suffered the worst opening of his career with The Beach Bum.

Directed by Harmony Korine, the low-budget indie(about $5 million) flopped miserably at the box-office with $1.8 million from 1,100 screens, including Thursday night showings).

Our Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

The studios initially planned a platform release, which could have slowly allowed the film to gain traction through word-of-mouth.

Instead, the stoner comedy opened nationwide with little marketing since its world premiere at South by Southwest, on March 9, probably due to the negative critical reception.

There is a feeling of deja vu to this collage-like movie, which tries too hard to be joyously goofy, made of some fun scenes, but lacking any discernible plot.

The story depicts the misadventures of Moondog (well played by McConaughey), a rebellious burnout who lives by his own rules. Moondog  is sort of a folksy poet who exists for the moment, a sensualist who doesn’t believe in any use of restraint or discipline.

After the release of the much stronger film, Spring Breakers, writer-director Korine penned quickly The Beach Bum, based loosely on characters he met and socialized with at the Florida’s Keys.

But while Spring Breakers was fresh and engaging, Beach Bum is too familiar, rehashing ideas of the previous film, and giving the impression that Korine was too dependent on random encounters and on-set improvisations.

Moreover, the mixture of established actors, such as McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Zac Efron, Martin Lawrence, Jimmy Buffet, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, and real-life Florida residents, does not yield here the same positive results–if feels like a gimmick.


Matthew McConaughey as Moondog
Isla Fisher as Minnie, Moondog’s wife
Snoop Dogg as Lingerie (“Rie”), a rapper
Zac Efron as Flicker, a drug rehabilitation patient
Jonah Hill as Lewis, a literary agent
Stefania LaVie Owen as Heather, Moondog’s daughter
Martin Lawrence as Captain Wack, a dolphin tour guide
Joshua Ritter as Limp D, Heather’s fiancé
Jimmy Buffett as himself
Bertie Higgins as himself


It’s been a bad start to 2019 for McConaughey, whose status as a bankable star has always been uncertain.

Earlier this year, his film Serenity, a neo-noir thriller with Anne Hathaway, tanked with a $4.5 million debut, and gross of only $11.4 million worldwide.