Watch Joaquin Phoenix as a Dopey Detective in the First Trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice'
After years of secrecy, we’ve finally got our first look at a film from one of the most acclaimed writer-directors of his time: The Inherent Vice trailer is here! With a big, star-studded cast, Paul Thomas Anderson’s hugely anticipated film promises grandiose goofiness on par with The Big Lebowski.
The new footage offers a first glimpse at Joaquin Phoenix’s heavily disheveled ’70s stoner-detective, Doc Sportello, in action. Doc is a heaping mess, sporting an army surplus coat, wild hair, and big, shabby muttonchops. Phoenix’s stumbling druggie private dick gets caught up in a kidnapping scheme involving crooked cops, beach bums, millionaires, and various Southern California characters.
Based on Thomas Pynchon’s best-selling 2009 novel of the same name, Vice smacks more of Anderson’s giddy Boogie Nights than of his recent, more solemn fare (There Will Be Blood, The Master).
In addition to Phoenix — who received a Best Actor nomination for Anderson’s 2012 film The Master — Vice stars Reese Witherspoon as a deputy DA (and Doc’s ex-flame); James Brolin as a flat-topped LAPD detective; and Owen Wilson as a surf-rock sax player. They’re just one of several big names among the cast, which also includes Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, and Eric Roberts. The trailer features narration by musician Joanna Newsom, who plays Doc’s hippie pal, Sortilège, and who reveals an outrageous kidnapping plot that may very well rival the one staged in Lebowski.
With Doc on the case, and a litany of outlandish characters to track down, Vice promises to be a time warp back to a blurry decade in which Los Angeles was overrun by drugs and debauchery. But don’t look for any bad trips here, as the trailer is full of goofy physical comedy: Phoenix gets knocked around and bonked on the noggin, while another character runs around minus pants. It’s proof that Anderson wasn’t kidding around when he said Vice was influenced by slapstick classics as Airplane!
We’ll see how crazy things get when Inherent Vice opens in select theaters on Dec. 12.