Anchor Bay // 2008 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // January 9th, 2009
Love and waves, that's what we need in these dark days...
After embarking on an utterly boring treasure hunt with Kate Hudson in Fool's Gold last February, Matthew McConaughey briefly returned to theaters in September with Surfer, Dude, a disappointing comedy in which he plays a stoned surfer who's desperately looking for a wave. Unlike most of his recent flicks however, this one only had a limited theatrical run and barely made any money, and now that I've finally seen it, I perfectly understand why. Surfer, Dude is nothing but an unnecessary mess, and I'm not sure it even deserves a DVD release.
McConaughey stars as surfing legend Steve Addington, who returns to Malibu to spend the summer riding the waves in his beloved hometown. Upon his arrival, however, Steve notices that quite a few things have changed, as new sponsorship requires him to participate in both a reality television program and the making of a new video game. At first, Steve declines the offer because he has more important things on his mind, but when the waves unexpectedly go flat and all his expense accounts are cancelled, the surfer faces a tough decision.
If you get a kick out of watching Matthew McConaughey wear nothing but shorts for 80 minutes, you may actually enjoy Surfer, Dude. If that's not enough to satisfy your expectations, stay away from this film as far as possible. Directed by S.R. Bindler and produced by McConaughey, this stoner comedy offers absolutely nothing but a superficial, boring story line about a moronic surfer who does nothing but waiting for a wave or running around stoned out of his mind.
Considering its plot is incredibly banal and slow-moving, it's quite a challenge to talk about this movie in great detail. Besides engaging in countless ridiculous conversations that don't make sense and are anything but funny, most of the characters you'll come across in Surfer, Dude spend all their time smoking weed or partying hard. But listening to them is definitely the most annoying part, primarily because they all use words like "dude" or "bro" in every single one of their sentences. I mean, dude, it's really annoying, bro.
McConaughey obviously had a great time playing a surfer who strolls around the coast looking for a wave to surf, but watching him do so couldn't be more monotonous. Other than staring at the calm sea and walking around telling everybody he's fasting until the waves return, Steve doesn't do much except launching into a quick romance with a producer (Alexie Gilmore) and finding a way to screw the people who try to force him into signing a contract and be a part of the reality show. The problem here is that none of these subplots are particularly interesting. The plot remains incoherent throughout and the main characters are all far too underdeveloped to leave a long-lasting impression.
There's not that much to say about the cast either. Acting like you're stoned isn't that hard of a job in my opinion, so neither McConaughey nor his co-stars face a real challenge in this film. Gilmore barely has any chemistry with McConaughey, and the personality of her character is just as bland as the others. Additionally, performances by Woody Harrelson, Scott Glenn, and Willie Nelson all go unnoticed.
The 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen presentation on this Blu-ray edition is not necessarily the best I've seen. While parts of the film do look sharp and clean enough, most of it looks a little too grainy for my taste. Elliot Davis' cinematography is actually not that bad, but this disc doesn't really give it the look is deserves. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio transfer, on the other hand, hits all the right notes.
Except for a digital copy and a disappointing BD-Live feature, the special features on this disc are the same as those on the standard edition. Besides a trailer and a couple of mediocre deleted scenes, the bonus material also includes a 24-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, during which members of the cast and crew discuss how the script came together and why it took a whole seven years to make the movie. As strange as it sounds, it's actually a pretty interesting piece about a movie that's really not interesting at all.
Also included are twelve Surfer, Dude webisodes that offer another behind-the-scenes look but repeat a lot of what you find in the main making-of featurette. Wrapping up the specials is a feature-length commentary with Matthew McConaughey, who's very laid back but offers only a few enlightening details about the film. Most of the time he simply further explains how much fun it was to make this film with some of his close buddies. Too bad I couldn't share his enthusiasm.
Dude, if you totally love Matthew McConaughey and don't want to miss any of his films, I'm sure investing in this Blu-ray disc will eventually pay off for you bro. But dude, if you expect a great surf comedy with an interesting story and jokes that actually work, I'd highly recommend you stay away from this one.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p Widescreen)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Digital Copy
* Official Site