Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I wasn't all that keen on seeing this movie, but one of my Gather "friends" recommended it.  Also, it drove me up the wall that Netflix wouldn't have it available for a full month AFTER you could buy the DVD, which is also a full month after Blockbuster and On Demand had it.  So once I signed back up with Blockbuster I put that near the top of my queue and here we are.

The basic premise of the movie is:  what if you could take a pill that would speed up your IQ past those of history's greatest geniuses?  Eddie (Bradley Cooper) faces this conundrum.  When the movie begins he's a socially-awkward writer suffering from writer's block, living in a messy apartment, and being dumped by his girlfriend.

(On a side note, only in the movies does a writer get a book contract without having written anything and without being famous.  That almost never happens in the real world, especially with fiction.  So suspend a little disbelief there.)

Then his ex-wife's brother runs into him on the street and offers him an experimental pill called NZT-48.  Eddie decides to take it and instantly his writer's block is gone, he's learning new languages at the drop of a hat, and winning back his girlfriend.  There's just a couple of little problems.  One is that the pill only lasts 24 hours.  After it's gone, he goes to the former brother-in-law's place only to discover that the brother-in-law has been killed by some nasty people looking for the pills.

They don't find the stash but Eddie does, along with some cash.  He uses the pills and bills to begin amassing a fortune.  First he tries counting cards and doing some day trading.  When that's too slow, he seeks out corporate titan Carl Atwood (Robert DeNiro) and goes to work helping to broker a huge merger that will net him $40 million.

But there are still the problems of the pills and the people who want the pills.
Overall I enjoyed the movie.  The scenario might be implausible, but it's a fun what-if fantasy.  Cooper gives a solid performance as Eddie and is fairly convincing as both mousy pre-NZT Eddie and suave post-NZT Eddie.  

It probably could have been 15 minutes shorter.  It drags a little in the middle.  Some of this drag is from a scenario I find puzzling.  Eddie reaches into his stash jar for a pill but seems to be out.  So he goes to a meeting with Atwood off the pill, which doesn't go well.  But then it turns out he has a stash hidden away somewhere.  So why didn't he just go get the stash before the meeting?  I mean if he's so smart on the pills how could he be so stupid as to run out before the meeting?

Other than that hiccup it's a perfectly good movie.  A solid night's entertainment.

That is all.

My score:  75/100 (3 stars)

Metacritic score:  59-100 (2 stars)

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