So....where to begin with this one.
Dope head, Larry "Doc" Sportello is visited by his ex-girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) regarding Mickey Wolfmann, (Eric Roberts) Shasta's current lover. Shasta claims that a plot is being put into motion to have Mickey placed into an insane asylum by Mickey's wife. While looking into the query, Doc accidentally becomes the prime suspect in a murder.
After being questioned by Detective Christian "Bigfoot" Bjornsen (Josh Brolin) about the murder. Doc gets turned on to a case about a missing musician: Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson). Once finding Coy alive and well, Doc realizes that he is spiraling down further into a case about the mysterious: "Golden Fang". With drugs and killer hair, Doc continues to march on in an attempt to solve the cases.
Honestly, those paragraphs barely scratch the surface of what is a truly meandering, yet highly-enjoyable film from Paul Thomas Anderson. The film seems to feel within the wheelhouse, though, of PT Anderson with multiple characters jockeying for screen time amongst a convoluted and dense plot. Joaquin Phoenix does a solid job as the drug-hazed Doc who really does not understand the plot, along with the audience, as he stumbles from one clue to the other. Josh Brolin, though, stands out as the tough-as-nails, yet vulnerable Bigfoot. His gruff persona acts as a stark contrast to the others in the film. And you'll never have more fun watching someone eat a frozen banana.
Not having read the book by Thomas Pynchon that the film is based off, Inherent Vice the film is more about the characters and setting. Throwing out what seems to be a plot that's more confusing than the film deserves, I gave up trying to follow what was going on and just enjoyed the ride. And if you can get over not really caring about where the story is leading (if it's leading anywhere) then there is enough enjoyment within the stable of actors that PT Anderson has corralled.
My main issue doesn't actually come regarding the film; but moreso with PT Anderson himself. I am still a huge fan, yet am growing worried with his film as of late that seem to disregard plot and focus more on just acting. I have enjoyed The Master and Inherent Vice, but wish that a more substantial (or in Inherent Vice's case) reduced plot to make a more entertaining movie-going experience. Both, this film and The Master have been enjoyable, I just wish there was a little less meandering and more focus on a streamlined plot.
As is, Inherent Vice will be a film that divides people, but I came away with a film that I enjoyed throughout and am glad I experienced it.