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Surfer, Dude
DVD disk
01.09.2009 By: Mathew Plale
Surfer, Dude order
Director:
S.R. Bindler

Actors:
Matthew McConaughey
Woody Harrelson
Jeffrey Nordling

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A famed surfer (McConaughey) returns to his hometown to catch some waves, only to run into financial problems and {GASP!} no waves! Bummer.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson smoke more pot than you, and Matthew McConaughey looks better shirtless than you. And that, readers, is all you should expect to get from Surfer, Dude.

McConaughey is Steve Addington, a “soul surfer” who returns to the beaches of Malibu to catch some gnarly waves. He lives for it. So do his buddies, like the perpetually stoned Jack (Woody Harrelson), who’d think to stick his head through a closed window even if it were filthy. Willie Nelson pops in for a cameo, too, as Farmer Bob, at one with the sheep and So Cal’s finest herb.

Addington’s high spirits hit a snag, though, when his funds run low. Enter Eddie Zarno (Jeffrey Nordling), a producer planning a surfing simulation game and reality show with Steve in mind for a starring role. “Not feelin’ it. Not into it. I just wanna surf,” Steve explains. But the waves never show, and there’s an extended sequences where Steve loses his mind, gets spiritual, and has sex, all in the name of craving the Big Wave.

For a brief moment, I accused myself of not “getting” Surfer, Dude since I am, as you read this, neither baked nor forking over $200+ for an O’Neill wetsuit. But I get it just fine. This is a vanity project for pro-pot activists—Harrelson, who narrated the documentary Grass, and Nelson, co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws—and those who, if it were socially acceptable, would show up on talk shows in nothing but board shorts.

Even with McConaughey in the lead, Surfer, Dude grossed only a little over $50,000 on less than 70 screens last year. But it’s destined to become a minor cult hit in a few years, and that says something of its appeal—but not today.

I thought it would’ve been useful to end the review with a total count of how many times the surfer dudes referred to each other as “dude” and “bra” (that’s bro, as in brother) in the 85 minutes, but I lost count. It’s somewhere over fifty, I’m sure.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary with Matthew McConaughey: McConaughey might leave too many gaps and be a bit mellow for some, but he’s confident in the film and that’s more than enough for fans.

Surfer, Dude: The Real Story (24:47) lives up to its name, with McConaughey and his J.K. Livin crew skipping the promotional ass-kissing to take us through the difficult process of getting Surfer, Dude on the screen. Included are candid interviews, screen tests, and production meetings.

Deleted Scenes (11:17) is more of a small collection of extended scenes, none of which enhance the story.

The Complete Surfer, Dude 12-Webisode Series (24:41): Those looking for a loose and fun behind-the-scenes featurette (as opposed to “The Real Story”) get it in these 12 viral videos.

Theatrical Trailer and Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Surfer, Dude might get the audience it aimed for on home video, and if it ever shows they'll have some solid extras to root through. But right now (and even after it gets some supporters), it's a poorly-executed display of bongs, boards, and boobs.
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