THE RUM DIARY: The late journalist Hunter S. Thompson has never had much luck getting his writings effectively adapted for the big screen. It may be that his alcohol-fueled, drug-induced body of work has made him prone to being easily depicted as a boozy hack writer without any hint offered of his true literary skills.

We get a lot of that in director/writer Bruce Robinson's screenplay which chronicles the young author's (Johnny Depp) misadventures at a dying Puerto Rican newspaper in 1960. Depp (FINDING NEVERLAND) previously portrayed the inventor of "gonzo" journalism in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1998) which logically should have followed this work since it was set years after the events in this film.

The most positive thing I can say about this movie is that no one watching it will be encouraged to drink excessively since the characters that imbibe wind up in various advanced stages of degradation. What plot there is centers mostly on a shady property developer (Aaron Eckhart) representing a group of investors who want to build hotels and resorts on a stretch of beach.

Somehow, that doesn't impress me as the sort of scheme that's going to instill righteous indignation toward American imperialism. A few amusing sequences, like a pre-dawn trial in a night court and an innovative method of driving a stripped-down car missing a front seat, stand out because nothing else really does.

Most of the characters, which include a gruff editor (Richard Jenkins) and the constantly disheveled photographer (Michael Rispoli), are types we've seen before in other newspaper movies.

Unlike most ships, this movie lacks a rudder that keeps its plot moving in

a certain direction. A stream of consciousness style may have worked well for some drunken writers (Mr. Thompson, meet Mr. Joyce.) but in this movie, it winds up being a whole stream of nothing that even Bacardi wouldn't want to be tied in with.


CRITIC’S “DRIVE-BY” COMMENTARY: Who knew that such an articulate, intelligent, not to mention talented and thoughtful young woman like Kim Kardashian would orchestrate an elaborate, “bogus” wedding to jack up her show’s ratings in a blatant publicity stunt? I mean, it’s not like she’s ever been an attention/media prostitute or anything like that. I haven’t been thrown for such a curve  since I heard that Amy Winehouse had died of alcohol poisoning. Who saw that one coming? The only thing more outlandish would be some McAllen girl breaking up Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s marriage. Now that’s one union we know is safe.