Despite premise, stars, 'Inherent Vice' a disappointment

January 9, 2015 8:08 AM

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"Inherent Vice" is an absurdist gag from the occasionally brilliant writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, whose exquisite filmography runs from "Boogie Nights" to "There Will Be Blood." It's based on a crime comedy by acclaimed novelist Thomas Pynchon and filmed with a superb cast, including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro and Martin Short.

Its premise - a mystery investigation by Doc Sportello (Phoenix), a flaky doper gumshoe who could get tangled tying his shoes - is a nice departure from dull corporate franchise films, a hippie-noir cousin of the Coen brothers' beloved "The Big Lebowski" and Robert Altman's classic detective parody ...

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