There’s a really stupid idea at the heart of Limitless. The whole film is based on a plotline that is vapid and superficial. But if once you manage to get over the fact that the whole film is built on a totally nonsensical premise there’s a lot to be enjoyed about Limitless. It’s 100 miles an hour but not in the abhorrent thirty minute fight scene sense of Battle: Los Angeles and it’s anchored by a winning performance and deliberately flashy presentation.
Believe it or not this is Bradley Cooper’s first big budget leading role. He’s the sort of actor who carries off cocky charm with little difficulty, more in the vein of Robert Downey Jr than Russell Crowe. And he’s well suited to this role (at least he is after he takes the pill, before hand his slob writer is a tad unconvincing). But the best thing about watching Bradley Cooper is that he makes you feel cool and that’s an important part of all the best guilty pleasure action scenes, as Tony Stark and Captain Kirk have made clear in their recent outings.
There are problems with limitless other than the plot. Robert De Niro’s character is so fundamentally inferior to Bradley Cooper’s that you wonder why he’s ever considered a threat. Abbie Cornish is perfectly lovely but the role is thinner than Kate Moss. Anna Friel gets the same sort of treatment as a whacked out former addict- more catalyst than character some would say. But these are fairly trivial factors in a film that aims to be fun and hits the nail on the head.
Perhaps if the screenwriters had taken the NZT pill they’d have come up with a cleverer screenplay but all the same this is slightly mental fun.