Matthew McConaughey's tabloid fame as a naked, bongos-playing dreamboat, perennial sexiest-man-alive contender, and highly public proponent of male shirtlessness long ago usurped his once-promising acting career. Now, his long descent into dopey self-parody reaches its zenith/nadir with the DVD of his barely released vehicle Surfer, Dude, a vanity project that's every bit the rigorous intellectual exercise its title promises.
Released in only 69 theaters (cue adolescent giggling), Surfer, Dude casts McConaughey and his glistening pectoral and abdominal muscles as a legendary "soul surfer" whose vagabond existence revolves around chasing waves and catching babes. McConaughey does it all for the love and the copious buds of high-grade marijuana, but upon returning home after a surfing vacation in Fiji, he learns that his stony little Eden has been infested with a slithering corporate snake of a surfer-turned-entrepreneur who wants to rope McConaughey into appearing on a gimmicky reality show and endorsing a surfing simulation game. When McConaughey resists, his formerly cushy life turns spartan. When his beloved waves disappear, McConaughey promises not to smoke any more weed or have sex until he's once again hanging 10.
Astonishingly, it took four people to write Surfer, Dude, including director S.R. Bindler, who wastes the goodwill he accrued helming the classic documentary Hands On A Hard Body. About half the film's dialogue consists of variations on "bro," "dude," and "man," and the plot could have been sketched on a cocktail napkin with plenty of room left over for primitive storyboards in the form of busty naked babes and stick-figures riding waves. Just how bad does a film have to be to receive only a token theatrical release, in spite of the constant presence of a naked or near-naked McConaughey? Bad enough to feel like an Elvis-style vehicle for an actual surfer like Kelly Slater. Surfer, Dude could double as an anti-pot cautionary tale about how prolonged exposure to THC clouds judgment and kills brain cells.
Key features: A future Commentary Track of the Damned from McConaughey, inessential deleted scenes, and strangely fascinating making-of featurettes featuring McConaughey and his bros chilling out and being mellow. Dude.