We’ll let our Queen of the Silver Screen, Julie Fisk, have the next one.
“The Rum Diary” stars Johnny Depp as a frustrated journalist who moves to Puerto Rico in search of his voice. It was written by Hunter S. Thompson in 1961 but it wasn’t published until 1998. Johnny Depp signed on to star 2000, then they hit the inevitable snags.
[photogallerylink id=60326 align=right]This just barely explains why Johnny Depp is playing a character who is roughly 20 years younger than his actual age. Sure, Johnny looks fantastic but even HE can’t pull off the 23-year-old journalist, Paul Kemp. Kemp has moved to Puerto Rico to write for the failing San Juan Star and to hopefully find an outlet for his liberal angst. Instead, he finds rum, and lots of it.
This movie is supposed to express outrage over corporate America, but it basically turns into a film about getting wasted. Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I laughed until I cried at times, but I kept feeling like there was a better movie within “The Rum Diary,” just everyone was too buzzed to pull it off. Even director Bruce Robinson admits he fell off the AA wagon & drank the entire time they filmed.
“The Rum Diary” never fully commits to being a movie about alcohol though, the way “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” was a movie about drugs. It tries to deliver a message, but like it’s main character, it’s having too much fun to get serious. All of that aside, it’s hard to beat the lush beauty of San Juan in the late ’50’s and it’s fun to see Johnny Depp channel Hunter S. Thompson again.
That’s why I’m giving “The Rum Diary” a B-. Because at its heart “The Rum Diary” IS a movie about drunks, but at least they’re funny drunks.