Limitless is okay, but The Adjustment Bureau is better. So if you’re wavering between the two, stick with TAB and Matt Damon. However, if you’ve already seen TAB and are looking for something in the same bailiwick and you like Bradley Cooper (and his sparkling blue eyes) then Limitless is a serviceable sci-fi drama.
Cooper (The Hangover, Alias) plays Eddie Morra, an aspiring author suffering from chronic writer’s block and a defeatist attitude (ah, yes. been there, done that). As his personal and professional life start to crumble, Eddie runs into his smarmy ex-brother-in-law who offers him a free sample of a revolutionary drug called NZT. It’s a top-secret, though supposedly FDA-tested “smart drug” that helps you tap into 100 percent of your brainpower. It doesn’t make you “high”, per se, just really, really “clear” – about everything.
Despite his better judgment, Eddie takes the drug and is immediately blessed with limitless clarity that allows him to finish his book in record time, master the stock market, learn a bunch of languages and get laid by lots of pretty girls. He’s golden – as long as he keeps taking the drug, which he does, after acquiring a rather large stash of it (I won’t reveal how).
Robert De Niro costars as Carl Van Loon, a Trumpish mega-mogul who hires the brainiac version of Eddie to help broker the largest merger in corporate history. The deal – and Eddie’s new life- threaten to unravel when NZT’s brutal side-effects start to take a toll and Eddie is constantly chased by a bevy of bad guys who want to get their hands on his dwindling supply of the drug. (note to the squeamish: there’s a particularly gross scene near the end of the movie, but you’ll see it coming).
The movie evolves into a bit of a morality tale, weighing the risks and benefits of the drug. It actually reminded me (classic television flashback alert!) of an old Bionic Woman episode where a Jamie Somers’ “look-alike” took an experimental drug called Adrenalazine that gave her super-strength and speed but ultimately made her deathly ill. Hmmmm. I wonder if the writers of Limitless happened to catch that episode. I believe it was a “very special” two-parter.
Anyway, you get the picture. Limitless isn’t mind-blowing. But Bradley Cooper is talented and easy on the eyes, so it’s okay for a rainy day matinee – if you’ve already seen The Adjustment Bureau. Both are rated PG-13 with near-identical running times (~1:45).
Bonus tidbit: Cooper recently became the first graduate from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University to be interviewed as a guest on the show Inside the Actors Studio. Coincidentally, as a student, Cooper once asked guest/idol Robert De Niro a question about his craft. Little did they know that someday they’d be co-starring in a movie together. Pretty cool.