I really don't understand why some people don't rate this movie at all. It takes all sorts, I suppose. For me, The Rum Diary is an often hilarious drama and something a bit different for Johnny Depp who plays the role of Paul Kemp, an American journalist who goes to work for a small and struggling newspaper in the America owned island of Puerto Rico during the 1960s. Kemp says, at the job interview, that his c.v. is as phoney as his stories. Over all, the newspaper staff seem to be a dysfunctional lot surviving on booze and drugs, red-eyed Kemp included as he swigs back the rum and tries to fit into the local hispanic scene with little success. But, it's hard to keep out of trouble when you go falling for a rich man's wife (Amber Heard), and a crooked rich man (Aaron Eckhart) at that.
I thought I would never say it but, in this, there are times that Johnny Depp is not a pretty sight. There is one scene in particular that had me rolling in the aisles, so to speak. When he and a colleague are in a small car together, a couple of gringos being chased by nasty Puerto Ricans. I laugh as I type, at the memory of it. If you check the trailer on YouTube, it shows a bit of it.
Kemp's accommodation is garbage but Puerto Rico looks fun. I went there in the 90s and it wasn't half as lively. I must have checked into the wrong hotel.
I'm not in the least surprised to find that I enjoyed this movie because it was directed by Bruce Robinson who directed the classic and hilarious British movie, 'Withnail & I' (1987) as well as *Still Crazy (1998).
The Rum Diary movie is based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson, available at Amazon.
* Error - My mistake and I have been corrected by GlynLuke: Bruce Robinson didn't direct Still Crazy he starred in it. Thanks, GlynLuke. :)
Love it or hate it, I guess.