The Rum Diary

Ah ha! A Johnny Depp movie! Not only that, The Rum Diary is the kind of prequel to everyone’s favorite movie from 1997, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That movie and this one were both written by the same guy, and both kind of about his life. The Rum Diary was written in the 60s or something, but not published until after the FaLiLV movie came out.

So unofficially it is a prequel, but stars the same character 10 years before the events in FaLiLV, and has the same actor playing that character. Yes, 14 years later, he is playing the same role, but supposed to be 10 years younger. Go with it.

Rum Diary
What a great way to open a movie.

Lets see what I can figure out of the plot. Depp’s character is mad at the US journalism, so he leaves the country and goes to work in Puerto Rico. He finds a PR newspaper, lead by Richard Jenkins, and eventually gets a job. Then he has to do dumb tourist stories.

Eventually he finds Amber Heard and wants her. He also drinks a lot of rum. Unfortunately the woman is married to a shady business man, played by Aaron Eckhart, a real estate guy. He ends up getting mixed in their business and other journalist stuff, that leads to crazy drunken adventures around Puerto Rico. Also maybe some lessons learned about journalism. Not sure.

Rum diary car
Puerto Rico has got style, yo.

It is amazing how little I cared for this movie as I watched it. I kept trying to figure out the point of the whole thing. It is in no way at all similar to Fear and Loathing, a movie that I personally didn’t like much, but appreciated how much effort went into it and how great the acting of Depp was. But this didn’t give me that latter satisfaction. Apparently this movie took about 10 or so years to make, after initial rights and development, first with Depp, then someone else, then Depp again. Now I know why it kept sputtering out of control.

Not sure how different it is from the book, or if the book is way better, but this movie on its own is just dumb.

1 out of 4.

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