In Limitless, Bradley Cooper plays a failed writer who takes magic pills and becomes a genius. For a movie that’s supposed to be about a writer and a man of godlike intellect, this movie actually seems to hate writing. As soon as Bradley Cooper gets his smart pills and doubles his brainpower, he ditches writing to play the stocks. “So long, dumb book I’ve been laboring over for years!” He might as well throw his laptop out the window and hit some willowy bucktoothed nerd in the retainer with it.
Oh man, and then there’s the montages of Bradley Cooper spouting off “smart” things in front of amazed onlookers at parties and bars. It’s like watching Superman’s halfwit clone Bizarro give a speech to an auditorium full of RealDolls with diplomas from fake online universities stuffed into their cleavage.
Not to mention Robert De Niro, as a powerful businessman, is supposedly very impressed with Bradley Cooper’s stock choices. He arranges a meeting, and Bradley Cooper says, “Uh…orr…me use algorithms. Stocks?” Then he dips his tie in a sippy cup of apple juice and puts it in his mouth. Robert De Niro is like, “Okay, you drive a hard bargain.”
There’s a scene in Limitless where Bradley Cooper seduces a woman in a nightclub by speaking different languages and quoting Shakespeare. Now, I know you wanted to booty dance to Young Jeezy, heavily made-up nightclub lady, but how about a few choice selections from the Bard of Avon instead?
This guy is supposed to be the living incarnation of man’s untapped mental potential, and he spends all of his time trying to live the shittiest life possible. He seeks out dumb women to have sex with, and bends over backward to impress insufferable rich white people. For anybody with above average intelligence, being around people obsessed with money and leisure is like biting down on a dunce cap made of tin foil. But Bradley Cooper’s character acts like getting some Wall Street jerk-offs and generic hot girls to think he’s awesome is like biting down on a dunce cap made of filet mignon and blowjobs.
Anyway, there’s this whole big thing at the end about how Bradley Cooper didn’t earn his power, and how you need to temper intelligence with experience, and how he’s actually limitless now that he has both. Which would have been a thoughtful way to end the movie. Except in the same scene, he diagnoses Robert De Niro with a heart condition by putting his hand on De Niro’s chest and detecting a serious cardiac problem through a layer of clothing. I understand that it wouldn’t make sense to ask Robert De Niro to get topless just to impress him with your ability to use your hand as a stethoscope, but even a goat chewing on the hem of a backwoods hillbilly doctor’s combination overalls and lab coat knows that you can’t use your fingertips as a Holter monitor.
Unless the goat is chewing on Limitless pills, and then he’ll treat any medical ailment with a tin can and hubris. That’s it, everybody. Limitless!