Rollicking car chases, colorful carousing in tropical settings, psychedelics jags with outlandish special effects: It should be just what the Doctor of Gonzo ordered. But Robinson doesn’t have the gonzo touch. Even if his Withnail & I featured a spectacularly dissolute antihero, it was soaked through with cold rain and the melancholy specter of alcoholism and failure. To work, The Rum Diary would need to make the case for all the excesses that killed Thompson, and Robinson’s heart (or talent) isn’t in it.
[why Edelstein? Because Sheila O’Malley recommended him, entirely accurately, as “best when he dislikes something”