Did Rama have one to many shots of Rum when he wrote his review? Make to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
A man could die from alcoholic poisoning just by watching THE RUM DIARY. It’s got so much consumption, it almost tempts people like me who’ve kicked the habit a while ago, to start drinking again. But on to the film, my mistake was that I was half hoping this would be just as uproarious and mindtripping as Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas but THE RUM DIARY is a pretty disjointed adventure Puerto Rico in the ’60s.
Keep in mind that I’ve never read the book that this film is based on and I’m sure there’s tons of Hunter S. Thompson’s fans out there who’d be more passionate about this film, but what doesn’t sell me the most about THE RUM DIARY is that in this film, everybody but Johnny Depp is interesting …
Based on the debut novel by Hunter S. Thompson, the film tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Depp). Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, The San Juan Star, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked life of the island, Paul soon becomes obsessed with Chenault (Heard), the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancée of Sanderson (Eckhart). Sanderson, a businessman involved in shady property development deals, is one of a growing number of American entrepreneurs who are determined to convert Puerto Rico into a capitalist paradise in service of the wealthy. When Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest unsavory scheme, the journalist is presented with a choice: to use his words for the corrupt businessmen’s financial benefit, or use them to take the bastards down.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think it’s an entertaining and funny movie thanks to Michael Rispoli and Giovanni Ribisi who play Paul Kemp’s (Johnny Depp) two compadres or sidekicks, each with their own crazy carefree attitude. Rispoli plays Sala, who looks like Jeffrey Dean Morgan after a week of sun tan and no shower.
Sala is like the buddy you could rely on and not rely on at the same time. He’d have a piece of sh*t car but he or the car would be there for you but they might get you ridiculously late for a meeting.
Ribisi plays Moburg, a Nazi-record listening, washed up conspiracy theorist whose has blatant disregard for authority makes his interaction with the newspaper editor, Lotterman, played by the great Richard Jenkins, some of the most memorable scenes in THE RUM DIARY. I tell ya, if you’re an actor and you’d get to have a confrontational scene with Jenkins, it would probably be the most rewarding thing you could ever ask for in your career.
So a combination of Sala, Moburg, and Kemp’s drinking habit would probably get you a full on cirrhosis.
Aaron Eckhart plays Sanderson who embodies every rich Yankee who sees islands like Puerto Rico as a mere money-making place for tourist attractions and hotel resorts. The locals or the natives mean nothing to him. He and his gang have a scheme and they want Kemp to write about it but they want to control Kemp’s writing so that the article would be to their advantage. Their collaboration falls apart when Kemp falls for Sanderson’s girl, played by the beautiful Amber Heard. It’s always a woman huh?!
Eckhart is ruthless, cocky, and manipulating in this film and he doesn’t forgive easily.
As I’ve said earlier, everybody but Depp is interesting. Kemp follows along with anything that comes his way and when it’s time for him to make a stand, I don’t like him enough to want to take his side. Depp fails to give Kemp any depth.
THE RUM DIARY is still a funny movie, it’s got a pretty hilarious LSD moment, but when it comes down to it, every situation presented becomes inconclusive, even the ending serves no point. The supposed battle against the powers that be simply surrenders without question to the inevitable. And some of the wacky scenes don’t make any sense at all other than it’s Kemp and Moburg and Sala acting like three reckless frat boys.
But I’d still watch THE RUM DIARY again,.. just for the laughs,.. and for the booze.. or both.
GRADE: 3 out of 5
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