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The Rum Diary: "His" and "Her" Thoughts

A gender-biased movie review of Johnny Depp’s latest hit

By Patrick Clark and Britt Nygaard
On November 1, 2011

Recently Patrick Clark and Britt Nygaard of the Xavier Newswire attended a prescreening of the movie The Rum Diary featuring Johnny Depp.

In the spirit of fair and accurate movie reviews, here are the comic thoughts from both moviegoers.

What was this movie about?

Britt Nygaard:

The movie focuses on the escapades of Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), a washed-up writer who has never been able to publish his work and has a bit of an alcohol problem, in Puerto Rico during the 1960's, when many entrepreneurs were trying to make Puerto Rico the playground for the American rich. Kemp begins his work at The San Juan Star with a hangover and quickly learns that the Star just barely warrants the name ‘newspaper,'

frustrating his dreams of making a mark in the world of journalism. This dream takes a sudden upturn, however, when Sanderson, a wealthy American businessman living in San Juan, offers him the scoop of a lifetime. Shortly thereafter, Kemp discovers the underhanded methods Sanderson is willing to use

Patrick Clark:

This is a story about an alcoholic reporter who realizes how much fun Puerto Rico can be. Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), an out of work novelist, decides to try his hand at reporting for a terribly run newspaper. He fails to do nearly any reporting at all for the entirety of the movie (unless he's writing the weekly horoscopes) and instead finds himself falling in love with a woman, partying and drinking more rum than anyone knew existed. There is something of a conflict regarding an American businessman named Sanderson but it's barely understandable by the end of the film. This movie was entertainment for the sake of entertainment. (It's Johnny Depp in a movie about rum.... what do you expect?)


What was the funniest part of this movie?


When Kemp and his cohort and colleague, Sala, are chased out of the bar by angry Puerto Ricans and proceed to protect themselves with a clever use of alcohol and fire.


Do I have to name only one? I hate to give away any part of the storyline (if there is one) but there is a scene in which Kemp and his buddy Sala manage to catch a policeman's

mustache on fire.


What was the worst part of the movie?


The complete lack of plot. I kept waiting for the storyline to pick up, but a climactic scene never came. Instead, the movie consisted of the stringing together

of haphazard circumstances that ranged from the serious to the ridiculous, and left the viewer disappointed at the ending. The only thing that saves it are the moments

of absurdity and, if it's to your taste, the humor.


There wasn't a trace of plot... but who cares? See it for the laughs.


What was the best part of the movie?


Probably the characters. While the plot left much to be desired and the humor was generally not to my taste, the characters were relatable and clever.


Evidently the movie was designed to be humorous but also have a serious note to it. Kudos on the former but the latter was lackluster at best. That's okay though. Sometimes it's great to see a movie just for a good belly laugh or two... or three.

What is your overall opinion of the film in once sentence or less?


Quirky characters, funny scenarios, zero plot.


Don't go expecting to learn a lesson or have some greater insight into life (unless you're really good at making something up) but I promise it will make your day better!

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