Inherent Vice ★★★½

I wouldn't be going out on a limb in stating that Paul Thomas Anderson has a certain affinity for challenging his audience and testing their patience to its very limits. Until now, audiences were, for the most, receptive and rewarded for their patience. Sometimes greatly even. Unfortunately, with the recent release of Anderson's 7th feature film Inherent Vice, it appears that patience it starting to wear thin. Maybe, just maybe it's time for Anderson to take it back a little bit. Maybe even take a page out of his idol Robert Altman's book. Yes Altman really didn't give a shit how much money his movies made or if anybody even liked his movies. He certainly made the movies he wanted to make but at the same token, most of his films were 2 hours or less and they hardly ever made you question whether or not the man behind the camera was trying to fuck with you a little bit while you watch any of his films.

I hate to admit but I kinda got that feeling from Anderson throughout the last half hour or so of Inherent Vice. A half hour which featured no less then 7 or eight different endings. Now that's not to say that there isn't anything to enjoy from Inherent Vice because that would be far from the truth. Anderson's immense talent is unquestioned and readily apparent on screen. Especially, throughout the first 2 hours of the film. Therein, the film serves as a very effective and sexy psychedelic neo-noir/ screwball stoner comedy. The principle detective element of the plot keeps you fairly enthralled throughout this time. Even if you're just barely keeping your head afloat trying to understand every new plot point and figure out who the assembly line of new characters are and what purpose do they serve. The zany characters, zany performances, zany casting decisions and zany haircuts keep you entertained for the most part. Not to mention the fact that the film looks absolutely terrific and carries a pretty badass soundtrack of pop songs from the 60's and 70's. Even still, Inherent Vice remains a frustratingly frustrating watch. One belonging to the lower end of the PT Anderson spectrum.