Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Rum Diary

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
The Rum Diary - 3 out of 5
It's a rare occasion when I sit down for a Johnny Depp film and walk away saying, "That was AWESOME!"  The Rum Diary was not one of those occasions but unlike most Depp-starred adventures, it wasn't the fault of the actor.
The future Mrs. Tim Burton?
This movie is pretty indecent.  I mean, that chicken
isn't wearing any pants!
Friends, enemies and totally strangers who talk to me about movies listen to my rhetoric when it comes to Depp and come to the conclusion that I hate the man.  It couldn't be further from the truth.  Granted, I would never EVER call myself a fan of the guy but I don't hate him--I hate his phoney British accent he now sports and I hate that Tim Burton can no longer do a movie without him but I don't hate him.  There are many roles I find him to be terrifically cast for but there are triple that number of roles that he is completely worthless in.  He's amazing as Captain Jack Sparrow and I love the Pirates movies and he was fantastic as Edward Scissorhands but for each of these roles, I had to endure his painfully bad representations of Willy Wonka or his complete rape of the Mad Hatter character.  But let's forget the bad times and remember how awesome he was in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas...I mention this because The Rum Diary, if you didn't know, was a novel by Hunter S. Thompson so, once again, we see Depp stepping into the shoes of the man who gave us Gonzo journalism.
"Yes, I am Aaron Eckhart and yes, I am ridiculously handsome and talented."

The Rum Diary is about a journalist (played by Depp) who travels to Puerto Rico for work and rum but finds himself involved with inter-office politics, rich men seeking to get richer and a beautiful woman he finds himself lusting after.  I never read the book but this movie is 'meh' at best.  It's never flat out horrible (surprising because when Depp is in a film, it rarely hits the middle of the road) but it's never excellent either.  The movie will keep you entertain but it doesn't have a wow-factor that the good Depp films have--but at least Tim Burton isn't involved.
"Is there something up my nose?  Possibly unobtainium that I could mine?"

Depp's performance is a rare one because he comes off as a believable person--a feat I, for the longest time, never believed he could do as in the 90s and early 00s he played characters with a laundry list of eccentricities and it seemed it had to play every single one of the eccentricities in every second of every scene he was in.  In fact, it's this complaint I often raised as how people have come to think I despise the man.  All I ever asked was to see him play a normal person once who didn't have a craving for chewing the scenery.  For the most part, we got that in this one--albeit he seems to be still playing Raoul Duke only without all the substance abuse and a minor hint of Sparrow.

Wow, that turtle is worth more than me.

"Look at my cock!"
However, Depp's performance is quickly (very quickly) overshadowed by his co-stars.  Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi overtake the film.  Going into the film, you already know Eckhart and Jenkins will deliver, their history proves that fact but the eccentric character of Moberg (Ribisi) and the well-traveled veteran of Puerto Rico who acts as a guide to Depp's character Kemp; Sala, really made the movie something to watch.  I've always found Ribisi to be a great actor but his performance in this one makes up for his presence in Avatar--yeah, he was that good in this mildly entertaining film to wash away the damage of James Cameron's sci-fi rip-off.
Michael Rispoli was great in this one.  What?  Not all the captions can be jokes.

The story isn't overly exciting and kind of moves along at a steady pace reminiscent of an elderly woman power walking a mall...but slightly slower.  However, the true magic of the film lies in the characters and the performances of some very talented actors...and Johnny Depp.  The trailer sells this film as a wacky Fear and Loathing remix but it's far from that.  The zany sequences shown in the trailer are it and the film spends more time on the ground than anything--but that isn't bad with the terrific acting shown.  In the end, The Rum Diary isn't a film I will come back in the near future but I didn't find myself regretting watching it either.

1 comment:

  1. Haven't got the chance but, I do want to see this one ! Something different for Johnny Depp !


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