Paul Thomas Anderson has easily been the most critically acclaimed director of his generation. And for good reason. From Magnolia to Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood to The Master, his films have penetrated and probed like no other. I even loved his anxiety-fueled Punch-Drunk Love. This guy takes his films very seriously. Everything motivated. Nothing gratuitous.
His latest film, Inherent Vice, is painfully void of substance and left me exasperated and hostile. I almost walked out half a dozen times, but my admiration for PTA kept me tethered.
Long-winded scene after long-winded scene of un-consequential, incoherent plot point babbling from Joaquin Phoenix, interrupted only by long-winded chunks of clumsy narration directly lifted from the mediocre Thomas Pynchon pulp novel will leave you wondering what Anderson must have been thinking on the set day after day orchestrating this train wreck.
I’m not even sure I should mention that Josh Brolin spends half his screen time giving oral to a chocolate covered frozen banana. Nah, I don’t think I will share that. You wouldn’t believe me anyway.
Unlike another film by a talented filmmaker who missed his mark, David O. Russell’s American Hustle, this one doesn’t even offer up a decent soundtrack and nifty period wardrobe to stare at.
Do yourself a gigantic holiday favor and save your entertainment money by avoiding the two and a half hours this film stole from me.