For some folks, the idea of a movie featuring Matthew McConaughey as a surfer that runs around without a shirt most of the time can be a perfect film. However, unless you’re a woman or a gay man (of which I am neither), it’s not the main draw.
Still, for the ladies and gay men out there who want to see an oiled up Matthew McConaughey, “Surfer, Dude” will at least provide you with some eye candy.
For the rest of us, it’s not worth much trouble. The film tells the story of Steve Addington (McConaughey), a professional surfer dude whose sponsorship contract has just been sold to his former surfing rival Eddie Zarno (Jeffrey Nording). Zarno wants to capitalize on all aspects of Addington’s surfing prowess, including a video game and a crass reality television show. However, Addington is trying to find himself in a sea of commercialism. When bad karma makes the waves go away, Addington must rely on new friends to combat Zarno’s take-over.
If you follow Matthew McConaughey in the press, this film makes sense to his public persona. The movie glorifies slackerism, including superstar Addington who blows his dough on pot and parties. Think of McConaughey’s classic character from “Dazed and Confused” as a professional surfer, and you’ve got an idea of what this movie’s about.
The cast is populated with other surfer-type dudes, including Woody Harrelson as Addington’s manager. I suppose it’s pretty realistic for the slacker surfer crowd, but if it is meant to appeal to an audience like the characters portrayed in the film, I suspect they’re too busy getting high and playing their XBoxes to rent this flick.
It’s clear that “Surfer, Dude” is meant to be a stoner comedy, and while that’s not normally my cup of tea, I can see where there’s a market for this sort of thing. I happened to like “Dude, Where’s My Car” and “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” And other stoner hits like the aforementioned “Dazed and Confused” and anything featuring Jay and Silent Bob definitely have an audience.
The problem that “Surfer, Dude” faces is that in its attempt to be a stoner comedy, it forgot to add the comedy elements. Sure, there are a few funny moments with Addington and his crew, but for the most part, this is just a stoner movie... and there’s not much entertaining about that.
The other type of movie that “Surfer, Dude” is going for is the underdog sports movie. Zarno and his profiteering is definitely the bad guy, and the slackers must join together to thwart his plans. The film plays out okay in this respect, but this style of film is more made for the PG crowd than the stoner R crowd.
Still, like I said, McConaughey looks pretty good without his shirt on, and for the guys, there’s the stunning K.D. Aubert looking good in a bikini (and stripped down topless in a deleted scene), so the movie’s not a total loss.
In the end, the DVD features are the best part of this release. There’s an audio commentary with Matthew McConaughey (whether he has his shirt off for this, I do not know), as well as some deleted scenes and a featurette describing the making of the film. Finally, there’s a 12-episode web series detailing the production of the film, which I found more entertaining than the movie itself.