Bradley Cooper Is Limitless

Plus a question for parents: Is Rango too intense for little ones?

What if a single pill could help achieve all of your unlikeliest dreams? Would you be willing to pay $800 a pill? Would you be willing to take it, even if you knew it might kill you if you stop? This is the case of Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), an unemployed sci-fi writer in Limitless. A chance encounter with his ex-brother-in-law introduces Morra to the small, round, clear pill called NZT. With this pill, he is able to complete his novel in four days, learn any language, see patterns in stocks, earn millions, and become advisor to business mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro). But as his future becomes brighter, he must fight to stay alive. And protect his NZT stash.

Honestly, I don’t know why I liked this film as much as I did. It is filled with generic plot points, a cloyingly overdone narration, and nausea-inducing film sequences. There is a disgusting moment, late in the movie, where the entire audience began groaning loudly. They saw what was about to happen and began with “oh no’s” and “hell no’s.” And then, once it happened, the theater erupted. I may have even uttered an “oh my god.”

So yet, despite all theses negatives, why did I enjoy it so much? Well, here are some potential reasons:

It stars Bradley Cooper. We want to root for a hometown boy. Originally from Jenkintown, he graduated from Germantown Academy. While filming, Cooper even brought his current girlfriend, Renee “My Eyes Never Open All The Way” Zellweger, back home to meet his parents. But he’s also incredibly talented—making the acting look easy. No matter what role he plays, from the nice guy (Alias) to the douchiest of douches (The Wedding Crashers, The Hangover, the outrageously short-lived series Kitchen Confidential), you can’t help but like the guy. And for one of People Magazine’s 2009 Sexiest Men Alive, he’s surprisingly self-effacing and down to earth.

It was filmed in Philadelphia. Okay, not all of it was filmed in Philadelphia—most of the exterior shots were done in NYC. But each time a Philly vista appears on screen, you can’t help but get a little thrill. Look out for Rittenhouse Square, Union Trust, Del Friscos, the Marathon at 19th and Market, and many more.

Neil Burger directed it. You might not be familiar with his name. But once you see The Illusionist (the 2006 live action, not the 2010/2011 animated), you appreciate the beauty of his work. With changing light levels and coloration and elegantly effective special effects, he surprises you with every shot. And though every shot may not be successful, it’s a fun ride.

It costars Robert De Niro. Vito Corleone. Travis Bickle. Jake La Motta. ‘Nough said.

At its heart, Limitless is a fun escape/whodunnit/action flick. Even if it’s a bit messy, sometimes this is all you need. Especially after this winter. (In theaters.) My Grade: B

This weekend I’m heading to visit my family. As part of the weekend, my mom was trying to figure out a movie the whole family could see—including nieces under the age of 10 (so Paul may not be appropriate). She suggested we go see Rango. My immediate reaction was absolutely not. While I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the animated film, I found that there were many visuals and instances that might be a little too intense, a little too graphic for young ones. Hell, even I grimaced as I watched the lengthy conversation between Rango and the half-flattened armadillo. (Yuck.) So what do you think? Has anyone taken younger children to see Rango yet? If so, what was their and your reaction?