Hard-drinking journalist Paul Kemp takes a job at a besieged newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His volatile editor, Lotterman, assigns him to tourist pieces and horoscopes, but promises more. Paul rooms with Sala, an aging and equally alcoholic reporter, in a rundown flat. Sanderson, a wealthy entrepreneur, hires Paul to flack for a group of investors who plan to buy an island near the capital and build a resort. Sanderson's girl-friend, the beguiling Chenault, bats her eyes at Paul. His loyalties face challenges when he and Sala get in trouble with locals, when a Carnival dance enrages Sanderson, and when the paper hits the skids. Is the solution always alcohol?Written by
Kemp mentions a Jacuzzi just before he signs the contract. The Jacuzzi was invented in 1968. See more »
What do you know about horoscopes?
Ah, well, if I can write one, you can. So it's every day with a special "Star's Star" featured Saturday with Betty Grable and Neil Sedaka, things like that. So here, everything you need is right there. It's called "Madam La Zonga Predicts."
What happened to Madam La Zonga?
He got canceled.
What do you mean, fired?
They raped him to death.
They raped him to death?
There are very few places on this island I decline to visit, but the toilets frequented ...
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Strangely flat and lifeless. Depp should stay away from vanity projects
Johnny Depp's vanity project The Rum Diary - 'vanity project' for that, at the end of the day is all it is - is based on a novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson Depp is said to have found among Thompson's belongings after the writer's suicide. The novel, completed in 1960 wasn't published until 1998 and, well, you have to ask yourself why. If the film of the novel is anything to go by I suspect it was simply because it wasn't very good. But as I have never read it, I can't tell you either way.
Mediocre novels have been turned into great films by great scriptwriters and directors. Unfortunately on this offering Bruce Robinson isn't one. Or if he is, he this is one occasion when he hasn't pulled it off. (Robinson made his name with his semi-autobiographical film Withnail & I, and I have to admit that didn't do too much for me either.) Depp has previously dabbled in Thompson's work with Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. That didn't come off either, which suggests to me Depp has something of a blind spot where Thompson is concerned. And this is Robinson's first film as director in 19 years. That, too, should tell us something, and possibly something not particularly complimentary.
The film itself is oddly old-fashioned, in storyline, cinematography, direction and production. In the hands of another director Thompson's rather slight story might well have been turned to gold. Here it remains base metal. Almost everything about it, from the soundtrack to the dialogue, from the 'plot' to the humour - it has been billed as a comedy - is flat and lifeless and, well, mediocre. This kind of schtick was churned out weekly by journeymen writers and directors until the digital age changed what the punter wanted to see. Depp, it has to be said (and this is a personal view) always has an attractive screen presence even when the film he's starring in is third-rate (and I have seen him in some real clunkers - Blow comes to mind).
Amber Heard has virtually no role and I simply did not buy the romance between her character and Depp's. Michael Rispoli, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart and Richard Jenkins (who was excellent as the penny-counting hit-man's paymaster in Killing Them Softly) turn in workaday performances and do the best of a bad job given what little they had to work with. Situations which, I'm sure, were intended to raise a laugh do nothing of the kind. I really did want to turn off halfway through but held out in case it somehow went from second to third gear. But it didn't.
Sorry, Johnny, perhaps you should get better advice and listen to others rather than your own gut.
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