The Rum Diary movie poster
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The Rum Diary movie poster

The Rum Diary Movie Review

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Last time Johnny Depp took on a Hunter S. Thompson adaptation, he was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In The Rum Diary, he's simply lost in Puerto Rico, which isn't nearly as wild of a ride. At times entertaining, but generally forgettable, The Rum Diary's only saving grace is that it also stars the face and body of Amber Heard.

Depp plays a kooky journalist like only kooky Johnny Depp could, who has transplanted to the tropical land of Puerto Rico, a haven for rich Americans and seedy business deals. There he meets and falls in love with the gorgeous Chenault (Amber Heard), whose fiancé (Aaron Eckhart) is planning a highly lucrative but largely illegal real estate deal.

After several over-the-top and underachieving performances and films, it's good to see Depp back doing what he does best, playing an offbeat but understated character set against an offbeat but understated atmosphere (he may argue that he's best at playing over-the-top and zany characters, but watch the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd for evidence to the contrary). In fact, The Rum Diary features Depp's best performance since Finding Neverland, way back in 2004.

Unfortunately, his performance is wasted.

The Rum Diary maintains a mild level of interest thanks to entertaining performances by Michael Rispoli and Richard Jenkins, but the plot itself is meandering and dull, the delivery surprisingly flat considering the amount of sex, alcohol and violence sprinkled throughout.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp have surprisingly good chemistry with one another, but writer/director Bruce Robinson fails to keep things sizzling when they aren't onscreen together. Meanwhile, Aaron Eckhart's talent is wasted, or he was woefully miscast for the role.

The Rum Diary has its moments, and Johnny Depp is at his best, but the movie doesn't offer a lot else.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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