Entertainment Entertainment Movies

Review: 'Limitless' 'reminds' us that mystery brain drugs can have dangerous side effects

** (out of four)

Depressed by his writer’s block and sloppy appearance, Eddie (Bradley Cooper) tries out an untested, Adderall-esque brain-enhancer that turns him into Total Focused Awesomeness. It also gives him an insatiable need to keep achieving that makes him like a personified version of the movie “Speed.” You know what they say about something that seems too good to be true, however, so count on this guy’s style of enhanced living to create consequences for his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) and a powerful financial mogul (Robert De Niro) who marvels at Eddie’s ultra-fast deductive abilities.

The buzz: Director Neil Burger has proven himself to be very limited, actually, recently failing to bring to life the stories of a lovelorn magician (“The Illusionist”) or road-tripping war vets (“The Lucky Ones”). Writer Leslie Dixon, on the other hand, who adapted “Limitless” from a book by Alan Glynn, has tackled everything from the entertaining “Hairspray” remake to the abominable “Pay It Forward” and remake of “The Heartbreak Kid.” Who knows what we’re in for?

The verdict: An interesting idea weakly executed for the PG-13 crowd, which, sorry, means no tips from Eddie’s newfound expertise with the ladies in and out of the bedroom. The thrill-less “Limitless” offers zero unexpected wrinkles in its hero’s “Wall Street”-like rise and fall, yet involves constant voiceover as if Eddie needs to explain what even sleeping viewers couldn’t miss. The film also embraces the idea of constructing your entire persona out of something unnaturally obtained, as if saying, “Go for it, Hollywood stars considering plastic surgery!” A murder and obvious infidelity are shrugged off while Cooper turns Eddie, whose life is a swagger except for when he’s puking, into a bland stud who is 20 steps ahead when he’s not in complete denial about what he’s doing. If this guy were really in command of all his previous experiences (watching Bruce Lee movies 20 years ago now informs his master fighting technique), he’d know better than to take out a loan from a generic Russian goon. Does that ever turn out well?

Did you know? Burger fails to draw out the twisted-yet-literal humor of Eddie receiving a box marked “hand delivery” that actually contains human hands. Sorry if you now expect that every time you receive a package via any means besides the mail.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Worst new movies
    Worst new movies

    The recent awfulness we've seen, like 'The Lazarus Effect,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2,' 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' 'Jupiter Ascending,' 'Seventh Son,' 'The Boy Next Door,' 'Blackhat,' 'Predestination,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Exodus: Gods and Kings,' 'America the Beautiful 3,' 'Dumb and Dumber To,'...

  • Best new movies
    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'Focus,' 'What We Do in the Shadows,' 4-star 'The Last Five Years,' 'McFarland, USA,' 'Girlhood,' 'Mommy,' 4-star 'A Most Violent Year,' 'American Sniper,' 'Paddington,' 'Two Days, One Night,' 'Still Alice,' 'Selma,' 'Inherent Vice,' 'The Gambler,' 'Mr. Turner,'...

  • Shrug-worthy new movies
    Shrug-worthy new movies

    'Bluebird,' 'The DUFF,' 'Kingsman: The Secret Service,' 'The Rewrite,' 'Black or White,' 'Black Sea,' 'Song One,' 'Cake,' 'The Wedding Ringer,' 'Spare Parts,' 'Leviathan,' 'The Interview,' 'Big Eyes,' 'Unbroken,' 'Annie,' 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,' 'Top Five,' 'The Imitation...

  • Hot Hollywood interviews
    Hot Hollywood interviews

    The most memorable quotes from our latest movie Q&As, including Margot Robbie, Bella Heathcote, Kevin Costner/Anthony Mackie, Sienna Miller, Emily Ratajkowski, David Oyelowo/Ava DuVernay, Eddie Redmayne, Jon Stewart/Maziar Bahari, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Damien...

  • Good movies to rent now
    Good movies to rent now

    See what recent DVD releases are worth your time and money. Don't rent? Check out the newest movies to stream here. Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page. 

  • Garcia reverses stance on Obama library parkland after Emanuel criticism
    Garcia reverses stance on Obama library parkland after Emanuel criticism

    Under the increased scrutiny and pressure of a one-on-one campaign against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on Monday dropped his monthslong opposition to allowing a Barack Obama presidential library to be built on city parkland.

  • Woman grabbed Chicago cop's groin twice: prosecutors
    Woman grabbed Chicago cop's groin twice: prosecutors

    Not many people would have the balls to squeeze a police officer's testicles. Prosecutors are saying a Chicago woman did it twice.

  • Grateful Dead tickets going for as much as $15K
    Grateful Dead tickets going for as much as $15K

    The good news for die-hard Deadheads who got shut out of the Grateful Dead's reunion concerts July 3-5 at Soldier Field when tickets went on sale over the weekend: Tickets are showing up in droves on the secondary market.

Comments
Loading