Until I got the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, I had no awareness of Surfer, Dude (please note the comma), a Matthew McConaughey surf comedy that's getting a little-heralded release in less than 100 theaters after premiering in the McConaughey-friendly turf of Austin, Texas. But now that I've seen the trailer, I'm not sure I'm going to be satisfied until I've seen this movie for myself:
McConaughey appears to play some kind of über-surfer who, strapped for cash, is tempted to sell out his surfin' ways. Also: It has Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, so there's a better than good chance it was at least fun for those making it. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of S.R. Bindler, best known for the respected documentary Hands On A Hardbody, as director. This has to be some kind of crazy trainwreck, maybe the moment when McConaughey finds a level lower than the self-parody of films like Fool's Gold, for it to be dumped with so little fanfare. Or, put another way, "Somethin's wrong with these fish, man."
Hey, remember when Matthew McConaughey was foisted on the public as the next big movie star thanks to his plucked-from-obscurity role as the lead of A Time To Kill? Remember those first few roles–Amistad, The Newton Boys, Contact–when he almost seemed to live up to the hype? Remember the next phase, when he just gave up and started playing his off-screen bongo-playing stoner dude in movies but it was still kind of amusing? My worry is that we're now entering a toxic third phase when we stop laughing with McConaughey and start laughing at McConaughey. "I'm not some kind of ass clown," he protests here. But how true is that anymore?