Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Martin Short, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, Benicio Del Toro, Maya Rudolph, Eric Roberts
Dull. Meandering. Pointless.
Set in the 1970s (which should have made it more fun), this two and a half hour flick of one incoherent, boring, and unwieldy scene after another stars Joaquin Phoenix as a pot-smoking private eye, Larry “Doc” Sportello, who takes a case from a former flame helping her current boyfriend. Inherent Vice challenges Ebert’s theory that the plot in private eye films doesn’t matter. Ebert may have been right, but something has to matter. Here, Doc investigates something that doesn’t matter, meets characters that don’t matter, and recites dialogue that-when audible-doesn’t matter. I’ve rarely been more bored, and Robert Downey Jr. would have been the better choice for the lead role. He, at least, would have been intelligible.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-