"Inherent Vice" is an unconventional detective comedy-drama set in trippy 1970 Los Angeles. The first film adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel, it shows U.S. society as psychedelic disarray, everyone struggling to get, and keep, their unstable feet on the ground. The populace jumps from outlaws to nice dudes, antisocial creeps to lovable guys.
Phoenix stars as "Vice's" lovable sleuth, a doper who gets tangled with the police after waking up in a massage parlor beside a corpse. It's the latest twist in an A-list acting career built by choosing the unpredictable and audacious.