Every now and then you just have to give it up. A fellow writer has written a piece that I could not have written better myself, expressing exactly the sentiments I've long felt about this particular subject. So allow me to turn Living the RomCom over to Richard Corliss, whose witheringly witty Time Magazine article definitively addresses the Mystery of McConaughey:
The obligatory Matthew McConaughey scene — as crucial to his fans as a Miley Cyrus
song or a Seth Rogen penis joke is to theirs — is the ritual removing
of his shirt, to reveal a torso that could have been sculpted, or
certainly caressed, by Michelangelo. The gesture is not so much an act
of narcissism as a votive offering to his core constituency. A showman
as much as an actor, McConaughey is ready to give the people what they
want; and abs make their hearts grow fonder...
Why is McConaughey a movie star? Because he gets a significant number of people to pay to see him in dreck. And Ghost of Girlfriends Past is down there with the worst...
[His] fluffy films earn no awards, no critics' raves — nothing but healthy box-office numbers; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days broke $100 million domestic. So somebody must love McConaughey. In Ghosts, one woman says of him, "He's all surface," and another observes, "But a really hot surface."...
You really ought to read the whole of Corliss's diatribe for yourself, but let me just add this about that. For me, the "hot surface" isn't entirely the issue; I can comprehend beefcake just as I can cheesecake (it's not always easy, for example, to defend Scarlett Johansson).
No, what confounds me is how so smarmy and smug a hot surface as McConaughey's is continues to command such a sizable audience. It's the bewilderment felt by men the world over since the dawn of time, who've watched otherwise intelligent and discerning women lose it over a "bad boy" who we can clearly see is... well, full of steaming manure.
I guess I wouldn't begrudge the guy his success if it wasn't giving my favorite genre such a bad name. But since I do want to understand this phenomenon, I really do -- I open it up to you. How come the guy isn't over yet? How's he managed to get as far as he's gotten? And is there, dear merciful powers of Heaven, any way to make him go away?