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Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 97 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on the early novel by Hunter S. Thompson, "The Rum Diary" tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalists Paul Kemp. Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, "The San Juan Star," run by downtrodden editor Lotterman. Adopting the rum-soaked life of the island, Paul soon becomes obsessed with Chenault, the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancee of Sanderson, a businessman involved in shady property development deals, is on of a growing number of American entrepreneurs who are determined to convert Puerto Rico into a capitalist paradise in service of the wealthy. When Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest unsavory scheme, the journalist is presented with a choice: to use his words for the corrupt businessmen's financial benefit, or use them to take the bastards down. (FilmDistrict) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 26, 2011
    83
    Thompson's fans will embrace its twisted verbal dexterity, romantically imagining the author feverishly pulling strings from the beyond.
  2. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Oct 27, 2011
    75
    A big, rambling, entertaining love letter to the late Hunter S. Thompson.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 26, 2011
    70
    You also get drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. By the time the movie is half over, you'll feel hungover.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 26, 2011
    63
    We have the feeling that Kemp/Thompson saw much of life through the bottom of a dirty glass and did not experience it with any precision. The film duplicates this sensation, not with much success.
  5. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Oct 27, 2011
    60
    In every move, Depp makes you believe this was a passion project for the actor, one he dedicates to Thompson.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 27, 2011
    50
    That the movie is leisurely and unconventional is all part of its charm, too - until it isn't anymore. The movie is a tale of corruption, but then it's not. It's a love story, but no, not quite. Later, it flirts with becoming a great journalism tale, or at least a whimsical journalism tale, but that vein leads nowhere, too. Nor is it much of anything else.
  7. 30
    The Rum Diary has no mighty gonzo wind. Even with a push from its Thompson-worshipping star, Johnny Depp, it leaves our freak flag limp.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 26
  2. Negative: 6 out of 26
  1. Oct 28, 2011
    10
    Having read the book years ago, and not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised and ultimately delighted with this honest, real, touching, homage to the memory of the man, whose work and presence on this earth, has meant so much, to so many people. The film is light but heavy too. If you just sit back and let it, its charm should engage. It's not for everyone, there can be difficulty, but life's that way, so what? Deal with it. Or maybe not. I can certainly say, I enjoyed it, and will see it again, very soon. Expand
  2. Feb 9, 2012
    8
    Id say (if I was going to that... compare that Fear and Loathing was a better adaptation) but as ever [JD], a fitting tribute to one of the 20th Centuries greatest writers.

    Critics?
    Remember Gonzo - as in... Its not about the destination - it's about the journey // its not about what you DO, it's about HOW it's done...
    Expand
  3. Nov 10, 2011
    6
    I guarantee you will laugh at this movie, I can't guarantee you will walk out satisfied. Great acting jobs all around by everyone involved. My problem was that the story didn't go anywhere. There is so much built up early in the movie that doesn't matter at the end. Then there are issues you want to see evolve that are tossed aside or resolved off screen. I was just left with a "Meh..." feeling when I walked out of the theater. Collapse
  4. Mar 18, 2012
    5
    Trailer was edited very sneakily. Made to look something it is not. Very disappointing film & makes Depp look a weaker actor than he is. Cant make up its mind if its a comedy or something else. If a biopic, I think it misses the mark by some way. A few good scenes, but never really takes off & aside from the back drop of Puerto Rico to add a sense of glamour, it sadly left this viewer somewhat underwhelmed. Expand
  5. Oct 28, 2011
    4
    A two hour movie sprinkled with comedy, lots of dialogue, little action. While the movie is mildly entertaining the plot leaves you wondering what the hell was that. There are also several scenes of animal cruelty in the film and because of that I am sorry I had to witness it. I do not recommend this film. I should have seen the new Justin Timerlake film TIME instead. Expand
  6. Oct 29, 2011
    1
    Horribly shot, boring, actionless, faaar too long, unstable pictures (where is your camera stabilizer???), even Mr Dep is not good and has a very blund caracter. What a drag. Don't go!!!!! Expand

See all 26 User Reviews

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