Johnny Depp plays Paul Kemp, a New Yorker hired to work at a newspaper in San Juan (1960). The paper is going down hill. The editor, Richard Jenkins, wants new blood, even though Paul appears to be everything he doesn't want in an employee. There is unrest outside, but no one at the newspaper knows what is going on. The humor is fast and witty. The man Paul is replacing was "artistic" and "raped to death" by sailors.
Paul Kemp is a Hunter S.Thompson clone. He was hired because the editor likes his style of writing. He is placed in charge of writing horoscopes, something he makes up. He describes the obese Yankee tourists as "great whites" the most deadly creature known to man. They are afraid to venture outside of their hotel, spending their days bowling, gambling, and duty free shopping. The more you spend, the more you save. His writings tend to be cynical.
Aaron Eckhart is a wealthy mobster/businessman, Amber Heard is his free spirited gf who causes everyone grief. Aaron needs a writer (PR man) with new eyes, and Paul sets his bloodshot eyes on Amber, a woman who considers clothes optional. There is also criticism of today's conservatives as Paul remarks about Nixon, "Some day some filthy hoar-beast will make him look like a liberal." While watching the Nixon-Kennedy debate, through a pair of binoculars on a neighbors TV, Paul is able to predict a Kennedy victory because "I do horoscopes." The humor is off-beat, cynical, and hard hitting like Thompson. A local proclaims, "This country was founded on genocide and slavery...then they brought in Jesus like a bar of soap."
The movie is also critical of the dummy-down media who kills stories so as to not offend their advertisers. In the film, capitalism is destroying Puerto Rico, creating a war of haves vs. have-nots while Cuba turns to communism. A rich man claims, "Liberals are college educated communists with Negro thoughts." To them the problem with the world is the communists. The movie takes a leftist look at the world as it plays out in the microcosm of Puerto Rico.
Paul is caught between the two worlds and must make a choice.
The movie is not all political. Just as you think Paul has reached bottom, he discovers "a drug so powerful that the FBI gives it to communists." NOTE: LSD in liquid form, administered to the eye should be done in split drops with three full drops being way too much, possibly causing hallucinations...or so I've been told.
Good acting, good script, funny and very entertaining. Staunch conservatives might be critical of the leftist views contained in this Hollywood film. A must view for Hunter S. Thompson fans.
F-bomb, excessive drinking, drug use. Was that Amber topless is a dimly lit love scene?