Inherent Vice (2014)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writers: Paul Thomas Anderson (screenplay), Thomas Pynchon (novel)
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon
Running Time: 148 mins (138 mins too long)

Some good movies you never want to end.  Other movies you can’t wait for them to end.  For me, Inherent Vice falls into the latter category.  But I didn’t so much wait for it to end as I put an end to it myself at the 18-minute mark when I could no longer stand the endless drivel of mind numbing dialogue and voice overs.

Adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel, some have suggested that you have to read the book in order to “get” and appreciate the film.  No, you don’t.   They’re different mediums.  A movie needs to stand on its own and it either sinks or swims on its own merits.

Here’s the gist: A comedy of sorts set in the 1970s where a hippie private investigator named Larry “Doc” Sportello (Phoenix) becomes embroiled in a kidnap/murder investigation.  A big time real estate developer (Eric Roberts) and his girlfriend Shasta (Waterston), who just so happens to be Doc’s former girlfriend, go missing while the developer’s bodyguard is found murdered.  Doc is even suspected of the murder at one point by a crazed detective (Bolin – his character/portrayal I could at least appreciate).  Thereafter we are introduced to a bevy of other characters in quick succession and they somehow fit into his mishmash investigation.  If you can keep your eyes and ears open long enough, more power to you and maybe you’ll get it; maybe you’ll care.  I didn’t.  What I got out of it all was a big headache and a non appreciation for anything Pynchon or Paul Thomas Anderson.  

The cynic in me believes those who loved it must have been awash in a drug-fueled fugue state while watching the film or perhaps they simply wished they were.  I also don’t care.  I think the reason I disliked this movie so much is because I’ve seen some truly terrific ones this season and I’ve been spoiled.

Lotta says the film is chock full of A-list actors and they should all get Academy Awards for memorizing the drivel.