In 1970, dope head private investigator Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) gets a visit from his ex girlfriend. She tells him about her new lover, Wolfman (Eric Roberts), a wealthy real estate developer. She hires Doc to prevent Wolfman from being committed to an insane asylum. Doc takes on two other cases, and all the cases end up being tied to "The Golden Fang", which is a powerful heroin smuggling ring. Meanwhile, Doc gets harrassed frequently by "Bigfoot" Bjorsen (Josh Brolin) of the LAPD, a less than honorable cop who is trying to pump Doc for information.
Since most of the characters use drugs, only about half of them seem to make sense most of the time. The same can be said about the convoluted story, which requires much patience. I enjoyed the story, although parts of it are slow and other parts are hard to understand. The film is not meant to be totally understood, but creates an interesting atmosphere around strange circumstances. As a result, it is the kind of film that I would expect to be directed by Quentin Tarantino or the Cohen brothers. Instead the movie is directed by Paul Anderson who directed The Master, another very strange movie also starring Joaquín Phoenix.
The term "Inherent Vice" refers to property that cannot be insured because it is likely to decay.
The movie is rated R for frequent profanity, frequent drug use, and nudity.
The film tried my patience a little, but it is worth watching: Rating * * *