Inherent Vice Movie Review by the Movie Slackers
As a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films like The Master (even with its narrative flaws), There Will Be Blood (a modern day masterpiece), Boogie Nights, Hard Eight, Punch Drunk Love, and Magnolia, to say I was stunned with Inherent Vice is an understatement. This is a film so bad that if a lesser director had made this film, they would have been run out of Hollywood. Made in 2014, but not getting a release until January of 2015, I can guess why it took so long to get released. Me oh my, what a nightmare this thing is!
The film opens with Shasta paying a drugged out hippie PI, Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) a visit. They used to be a couple, but grew apart and have gone their separate ways. Now she needs him to help her with some bad folks she has become involved with; something involving a rich socialite and his money. They want to have him committed to a looney bin so they can run off with all of his money. Shasta is not too sure she wants any part of this, but Doc agrees to do what he can. He still has feelings for her, even though he is now seeing the Deputy D.A., Penny Kimball (Reese Witherspoon) How Witherspoon and Phoenix could have so much chemistry in Walk The Line and have none, here is beyond me. An ice cube has more heat than what they generate in this film. So Doc starts on his case. He is not a bad PI. I mean he is almost completely stoned throughout the film, but still manages to investigate the case with some effectiveness. It puts him in harms way with the local police, mobsters, Aryan bikers and just about every unsavory character you can think of. Just about everyone is ingesting, smoking, injecting or swilling some kind of intoxicant throughout most of the film. I know, it is supposed to be the 70’s and a lot of that went on, I get it.
Anderson penned the script from Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name. and this thing is a mess. Inherent Vice is slow, uninteresting, and plodding. Characters come and go with very little back round while still others are mentioned by name and never heard or seen of, again. While everyone seems to put forth their best effort, there is not one character I came to understand or like. There are subplots that mean nothing and only add to the confusion. Anderson has written a script that is wordy but says nothing. When you have a cast that includes Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Owen Wilson, Eric Roberts, Katherine Waterston, Joanna Newsom, Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short (yes, THAT Martin Short) and still cannot have one character you are involved with, then you have a long, LONG film to endure. Inexplicably at almost 2 1/2 hours in length, I had to stop and restart it a couple of times just to make sure I was not missing something. While I admire the fact that Anderson has tried to tell a story in a unconventional way and the actors seem to be in on what he is trying to do, Inherent Vice never has a single coherent thought. The editing and pacing are all wrong and deathly dull, as is the entire film. I would equate Inherent Vice to be like going to a party where you are the only sober person there. Yea, it ain’t fun. Roger Ebert once said, “No great film is long enough, while no bad film is short enough.” Man, did he get that right. I could not wait for this film to end. If you want to see a great film along the same lines as this one, The Big Lebowski is your ticket.
Inherent Vice is now out On Demand and DVD and is rated R for language and nudity
Inherent Vice Movie Review by the Movie Slackers. This review is written by JohnnyTwoToes.