I think that it is safe to say that the term Dionysian could be applied to Moondog, the central character, in the new film The Beach Bum. Moondog, played by Matthew McConaughey, practically admits to wanting to have a good time – all the time.

Moondog is resident of the relentlessly photogenic Florida Keys. In between his beach and beer-soaked revelries – and sometimes during them – he is a writer and apparently a talented one at that. But he has not produced much lately, seduced by a sun-drenched slacker lifestyle underwritten by his very wealthy wife with whom he has an open marriage. Very open.

For reasons I won’t divulge here, the good times come to an end and Moondog is cut off from his wife’s fortune until he completes a novel. In the midst of all of the turmoil, Moondog must deal with a problematic new son-in-law and is sentenced to rehab. He also briefly collaborates with a tour guide (a very funny Martin Lawrence) who specializes in taking tourists out on a boat to view dolphins. Things get dicey when the dolphins turn out to be sharks. In at least one moment in the movie, one is reminded of Shakespeare’s dictum that “These violent delights have violent ends.”

Based on what has been observed of his behavior, asking Moondog to write a novel would be like asking Errol Flynn to write a book in the midst of one of his riotous bacchanalias. Actually, McConaughey bears a certain resemblance to Flynn, and Flynn wrote an interesting and entertaining autobiography towards the end of his life – but I am digressing.

At first, McConaughey’s relentless profanity-laced ribaldry may be off-putting, but the sheer unabashed nature of his exuberance and the actor’s native charm will probably win over many audience members. Towards the beginning of the film, Moondog mentions the word “civilization” with a clearly dismissive air. He clearly has no use for society’s normative conventions. He would have been completely at home in the 1960’s hippy counter-culture movement and some of the emotional energy of this film is reminiscent of Easy Rider. If you scratch deeply enough, the film might even be viewed as an example of the stereotype that many artists don’t live by society’s normal expectations and frankly flout them.

McConaughey is surrounded by a solid supporting cast which includes Jonah Hill, Isla Fisher, Snoop Dogg and Zac Efron. But after McConaughey, the star of the film is the wonderful cinematography of Benoit Debie. The shots of Florida beaches and sunsets are relentlessly and seductively appealing.

Directed by Harmony Korine, The Beach Bum is something of a celebration of the idea of seizing the moment to live vividly and find happiness. Though perhaps one wonders after watching The Beach Bum, where is the dividing line between happiness and hedonism?