Plot: David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) has just had a book published and joined the staff of Rolling Stone magazine, but he wants to expand on the little taste of success he has had, so he needs a great article. When he reads the glowing reviews of a book called Infinite Jest, he decides he has to meet the author in person and pitches an interview to his boss, who agrees to send him on assignment. Soon Lipsky is in Minnesota, to join author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) on the final five days of his Infinite Jest book tour, with a mission to peel back the layers of this remarkable writer. But he quickly learns that Wallace is not what he expected and as the two travel and bond, Wallace evades the interview and tries to turn the conversations toward Lipsky, out of fear for how he might be portrayed. Wallace has what Lipsky wants, fame and acclaim, but will he learn that there’s a price to be paid for such accomplishments?
Entertainment Value: This kind of movie won’t appeal to everyone, as it is slow paced and is essentially one long conversation between two people, with some pit stops along the path. This is based on real life events when Lipsky interviewed Wallace for Rolling Stone, so the grounded, deliberate approach makes sense. As you’d expect from such a movie, it winds up mostly as a vanity piece about Wallace, so if you’re not a fan of his work, you might feel frustrated here. Jason Segel is capable in the role of Wallace, but to me, doesn’t feel like the man himself. But actors often put their own spins on characters, even real ones, so perhaps Segel had a vision that approximated Wallace, but he didn’t want to stay close to his mannerisms and cadence. Jesse Eisenberg is usual fine, but not memorable self, so he adds little here. The writing is passable, but feels like a lot of Wallace wanting to embrace fame and fortune, while being afraid of losing himself in the process. This is an interesting concept of course, but it is never explored in depth and to be honest, has been done better elsewhere. The movie is still an interesting watch, but it was too pretentious and self important for me, so I think it is best suited for fans of Wallace or Eisenberg.
No nakedness. Wallace rants about the dangers of too much masturbation, but that’s as close as it gets to sleaze. No blood. The movie has no violence, so the lack of blood makes sense. The closest we get is some awkward passive aggressive behavior from Wallace, which is humorous, but never descends into violence. The dialogue is fine, but as I said before, comes off as exceedingly pretentious. Some interesting topics are brought up, but released just as quickly, with little to no insights offered. But the writing is capable, just not memorable or overly clever. No craziness. This one is as grounded as it gets, with not even a second of wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 0/10