Somehow, this movie registered on my radar...barely. I remember the trailers, it looked pretty good, the reviews were OK, but there must have been more compelling movies out at the time.
Anyway, having just seen Bradley Cooper at his finest in "Silver Linings Playbook", and whoa! Robert DeNiro! This suddenly seemed like an attractive option on Netflix streaming.
The premise is pretty easy to grasp. Aspiring writer Eddie Morra (Cooper) has let himself slide...doesn't shower, loses his girlfriend, can't pay his rent, can't conjure any muse to get the words flowing. Then he runs into an old acquaintance who offers him a freebie on the house...a pill "just FDA approved" that helps a person access the 70% of his brain that naturally remains untapped. Cool. It works...it is magic! The words flow, the book is finished in days, and Eddie would like more please.
He looks up his friend for a refill, finds him dead and his apartment ransacked, but discovers the stash of pills and runs for the hills. The pills work their magic. Eddie has mastered the stock market, speaks dozens of languages, gets his girl back, and is rolling in the cash. But his supply is running out, and he is not the only one that knows about the power of this drug. People are willing to kill to get it. And there is a little problem if you ever try to wean yourself from the drug as well...
The plot is intriguing, no? I mean, really, how far are we from the day when there are pharmaceuticals that boost our brain power? Wouldn't that be an addictive little pill to get your hands on? It was addicting just thinking about it. Having every corporation wanting your mad skillz, every publisher wanting your words on paper, and even being able to take out a group of muggers because you watched that Jackie Chan film 8 years ago.
The movie was certainly entertaining to watch. Lots of action, Bradley Cooper is easy on the eyes, and DeNiro is never a bad cameo to throw into the mix. But there is little in the way of depth here. The relationships are superficial, the characters stereotypical...a lot of flash and no fiber.
But. I will commend the screenplay for the questionable ending, which sparked a little debate in our house. Sort of an "Inception" kind of ending...yes or no? What do you believe to be the truth? I liked that.
So don't expect anything mind-blowing, just some fun and an overt cautionary tale about drugs.
3 out of 5 stars