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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Feb 16: The Rum Diary


Feb 16: The Rum Diary

"American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1960s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there."

   The Rum Diary is a rather boring movie set in a beautiful location. Throw in a lot of alcohol and drugs and things do get somewhat interesting, but it all becomes more like a messy hangover than the high itself. The pacing is awful as the film can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be. The Rum Diary is filled with the tiniest bits of humor, all are genuinely funny, but then changes into a drama and loses anything it has going for it. If the film just stuck with one genre; I feel the movie would succeed, but it' constant changing makes it a mess. Johnny Depp is great in his role and seeing him play a more "normal" role is always refreshing, as his continued relationship with Tim Burton is getting a little out of control. They are kind of like the couple you see in a public place that won't stop groping each other. It's cute at first, then it's just gross and annoying.

Like this, but with crazier hair and scissor-hands. 

   The Rum Diary is based off a book by Hunter S. Thompson and, as Depp is one of his biggest fans, you would think the film would be much better than it is. Depp, however, is not the problem. The writing is a mess and the best lines of dialogue, I would assume, are straight from the book itself. The direction is boring and never seems to capture the exotic setting as well as it could. It's almost as though Depp went from point A to point B and the director simply followed without even attempting to add any style or mojo of his own. As for the soundtrack, it's great and adds a little character to the film but, even then, the good music can't save the film. I can't help but wonder how good The Rum Diary could be if it had all of its gears turning in unison. It has the taste of greatness, but leaves a bitterness of blah in your mouth at the end. 

Yep. He doesn't care either. 

   Overall, The Rum Diary is a film that almost hit the mark, but also missed by a mile. The acting is terrific and not only does Depp fit the role, his supporting cast shines. Giovanni Ribisi is amazing as a permanent drunk ex-Nazi and Michael Rispoli is great as Depp's right hand man. However, the acting doesn't save the movie and with a weak script and a plot that jumps everywhere, The Rum Diary fails to be anything exceptional. It's absolutely boring at its best and almost knows this fact as it barely tries to be anything more. The best part is seeing Johnny Depp play a regular, real human being, and it's a reminder of how great he really is without all the crazy makeup and silly voices. 

The Good:
incredibly well acted
The Bad:
a messy story with plain, boring dialogue
The Ugly:
realizing it could be great if all the pieces came together better than it does

Overall: 5.5/10

Best Quote:
Paul Kemp: [looking into the eyes of a lobster in a tank] "Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one."

P.S Watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas instead. 

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