Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey has your intelligence report on “Limitless”…
Very early on in “Limitless,” a psychological tease about a pharmaceutically enhanced brainiac, star Bradley Cooper is teetering on the thin rail of a high-rise balcony, contemplating one of those jumps that guarantees the sweet hereafter. It turns out to be as good a metaphor for Cooper as it is for his character, Eddie Morra; both are courting considerable risks in director Neil Burger’s wannabe thriller about a super-pill that will make anyone who takes it super-smart.
For Cooper, the question was: Could he play smart-Eddie? He comes close enough to suggest there is something more to the actor than just smirking arrogant handsome guy, which until now has been the definition of most of his characters, notably his breakout role in “The Hangover.” For Eddie, it’s more a management issue — can he handle the high-octane, mind-over-matter life he’s suddenly got?
But smart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and soon the movie is unraveling faster than all of Eddie’s grand schemes. The pill may be new, but the lessons are old — all drugs have side effects and all the smarts in the world don’t keep you from making dumb decisions. The latter, perhaps something the filmmakers should have paid more mind to.
Burger, who crafted 2006′s likable period drama, “The Illusionist,” with Ed Norton as a magician, has got a lot more illusions to create here in trying to bring novelist Alan Glynn’s “The Dark Fields” to the big screen. Leslie Dixon’s screenplay has streamlined the book, merged some characters and complications, and given it a Hollywood ending that dispenses with most of the morality clauses that the novelist used to counterbalance the aphrodisiac of brilliance…
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– Betsy Sharkey
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