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Critic’s Choice: Matthew McConaughey and ‘The Beach Bum’ deserve more love

Matthew McConaughey in a scene from “The Beach Bum.” Credit: NEON/ Vice
Matthew McConaughey in the movie “The Beach Bum.”
(Atsushi Nishijima / NEON/ Vice)

It opened and promptly tanked in theaters back in March, but perhaps the summer months will be kinder to Harmony Korine’s delightfully drug-addled romp “The Beach Bum” (now available for purchase and rental on DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Video and iTunes). A spiritual sequel of sorts to Korine’s 2013 bacchanalian tour de force, “Spring Breakers,” the movie follows a Florida poet and libertine played by a wholly committed Matthew McConaughey.

“The Beach Bum” is basically the lowbrow comedy as high-art mood piece: Its laughs seem to arise as much from the silly, sun-drenched atmosphere as from individual gags, and its pleasures can feel as sweet and impermanent as marijuana smoke. It also has hypnotic images that linger and funny ones that keep tickling you after the movie’s ended: I’m still chuckling at the memory of Martin Lawrence’s crack-addicted parrot and the guy smoking a burrito-sized joint. You needn’t smoke one of your own to have a good time, though it couldn’t hurt.

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