Matthew McConaughey and his pectorals are Steve Addington, a zen-master surfing icon who is the Surfer, Dude referred to in the title. This indie release is sprinkled with other star names, including the extremely stoked Woody Harrelson and the highly stoked Willie Nelson. The movie is about a surfer dude (sans comma), who is an analog dude trying to fit into a digital world, which is like trying to get a square peg into a Calabi-Yau Manifold, which is to say it probably won’t work, and neither does this movie. But, like Steve, it’s not really trying all that hard. Mostly, Surfer, Dude just wants to be cool, and it is. It’s also not going to make any money at the theatrical box office, but that’s probably cool with these guys, too.
Steve was bred on the shores of Malibu, but has been surfing exotic breaks all over the world where “getting deep in the curl” is a phrase everyone understands. Upon his return to the ’Bu, he’s stoked to be with his dudes, but finds that the world has indeed gone digital while he’s been riding the waves. He also finds that he’s broke. His manager (Harrelson) is stressing the situation and has Steven set to star in a reality show set in a beach house, and to model his surfing style for a hot 3D surfing game, none of which the Ad Man is feeling. But he is also not feeling being broke, and therein lies the central conflict of life, surfing and this movie—finding the balance.
When the waves go flat, Steve is sent into an existential wipeout, the survival of which will involve the aforementioned and supremely stoked Willie Nelson, several hundred sheep and a girl named Danni (Alexie Gilmore, Definitely, Maybe ), because there’s always a girl. Actually, there are several young ladies, often wearing bikini bottoms, in Surfer, Dude, which also features some really great surfing footage. You have to decide which is the bigger draw. Collectively, it all swells into a movie that might metaphorically equate to five-foot waves, which aren’t Endless Summer waves, but will place you comfortably back on the beach.
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Alexie Gilmore, Jeffery Nordling, Sara Wright, Zachary Knighton, Cassandra Hepburn, Todd Stashwick, Nathan Phillips and Ramon Rodriguez
Director: S.R. Bindler
Screenwriters: S.R. Bindler and Cory Van Dyke
Producers: Gus Gustawes, Mark Gustawes and Matthew McConaughey
Rating: R for pervasive drug use, language and nudity
Running time: 88 min.
Release date: September 5 Austin, September 12 ltd.