Inherent Vice

The meandering plot of this detective yarn starring Joaquin Phoenix is perhaps better appreciated in the 2009 Thomas Pynchon's novel on which the film is based. On screen, however, its "nothing is as it seems" ambiance has all the charm of a bad sunburn. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation emphasizes the narrative's amorality and makes the proceedings appear vaguely smutty rather than intriguing. When not aimlessly getting high, characters are being killed or else indulging in joyless sexual encounters.

Watch out for: Frequent drug use, strong sexual content, including scenes of aberrant behavior and much crass banter, pervasive rough and crude language.

Rated: O, morally offensive; MPAA: R, restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015