Just like being at a party with a friend who's obliterated, this comedy is occasionally funny but mostly annoying. Yes, McConaughey stars in a role that the real-life bongo drummer seemed destined to play: a womanizing, burnout poet who's loved by all and floats through life without a care in the world. But Moondog really doesn't care about anything: not keeping up with his daughter, staying faithful to his wife, staying out of jail, or writing his next book. He's only committed to having fun, and it would seem that he's high on life -- except that he's constantly high on everything else. Life is a nonstop party, and the audience is pulled into Moondog's haze.
In The Beach Bum, director Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers) has made another movie with outrageous, hedonistic characters who live in total excess. The worry is how all that might rub off on younger viewers. For instance, Moondog and his wife marry off their daughter and refer to her groom as "limp d--k" -- to his face. When one character uncomfortably brings up the time when he behaved inappropriately around Moondog's daughter, Moondog says he didn't mind. When asked why he invited a gang of homeless people to trash and destroy his own mansion, Moondog responds, "Uh ... BOREDOM!" And, when Moondog is talking to his sleazy agent (Jonah Hill, sporting a ridiculous Southern accent), a comment is made that seems to sum up the movie's perspective: that the best part of being rich is "you can be just horrible to people, and they have to take it." But here's the kicker: As a moviegoer, you don't.