A comedy centered around four couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. While one of the couples is there to work on the marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort's therapy sessions is not optional.
Steve Addington is the world's preeminent surfer - cool, laid back, stoned, shirtless and barefoot, living off endorsements for surfboards and trunks, paid in cash. In Malibu his endorsement contract has been bought by Eddie Zarno, a surfer turned businessman who wants Steve to record his moves for an electronic virtual reality game. Steve just wants to surf. While Zarno tries to change Steve's mind, the Pacific goes calm - there are no waves for days on end. Steve's attracted to Danni, recently fired by Zarno, but the lack of surfing drains him. Plus, he's low on dough. Will he sign with Zarno, get paid, and lose his self-respect? Written by
Whats so special about surfing?
Whats so special about the wind? Surfing is to... be with that mystery. To ride that mystery for as long as you can. And then when it's over that's cool because you know what? You were there, in line and on time.
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it's not bad, it's not good... it's harmless surfer fluff for the whole stoner family
I rarely do this, and I either feel vindicated or embarrassed doing it, but I went into Surfer, Dude prepared to not like it at all. Matter of fact, I rented the movie (from my library on a 25 cent charge) with the intent to have a good laugh at it, and maybe get in with my wife on a Mystery Science Theater 3000 style poke-and-jab job. As it turned out, by the near of the end of its slim 82 minute running time, we felt the same way: it's not hate-worthy. It's simply too filled with well-intentions to simply stomp and kick the crap out of. While one can argue a lot of misplaced ego-trips go that way (i.e. M. Night Shyamalan) I didn't really sense hubris or too much faulty technical craft going on.
It's simply what it appears to be: a bunch of surfer dudes, and I include in that group the filmmakers and McConaughey, got together after many years of prep (you read that right, many years, like seven according to the DVD making-of) and made a movie for themselves, and the California surfer community. Indeed there's been a minor cult that has risen in California around the movie; screenings spring up with masses of dirty and stoned surfers trudging into the theater ready to soak up the waves. At least, that's my assumption having never been to the California surfing community nor a surfer's cult movie screening. I can't help but wonder if it was for the 'plot' or the 'comedy'.
So why isn't the movie hateful? For one thing, for all of his incessant I-don't-need-to-wear-a-shirt-ness, McConaughey is a likable guy as Steve, a guy who has a craving for a wave, all the time, every time it's possible. There is not much conflict to speak of except this: either Steve rides the wave, or he doesn't, and for much of Surfer, Dude he actually doesn't ride waves but rather try and fend off a corporate leech that wants to sign him up for a reality TV show gig. That's basically the whole movie. Oh, and Willie Nelson shows up as a goat farmer who smokes lots of doobs (of course), and Woody Harrelson pops up from time to time as a, uh, manager of sorts who smokes a lot of doobs (of course) and is sometimes hard to differentiate from McConaughey if not for the shirt situation and, uh, other actors like Jack's father on Lost.
Here's what it comes down to: there are plenty of totally cringe-worthy moments, scenes where laughs are attempted and fall flat, and some lazy cinematography and music and a story that is so easy to read through you know who every character is and what their destination will be within ten seconds of seeing him or her (and that goes for miss wannabe Baywatch star too). And yet, it's also a laid back movie for a niche crowd that doesn't try to please to audiences that aren't meant for it. Maybe I wasn't meant for it either, and I do like some of these actors and comedies with stoners and surfing and waves and uh virtual reality plots hatched by... oh what the hell, it's a retarded puppy of modern movies. It may be stupid, but it's still a puppy!
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