Home » Licorice Pizza Review: California Dreaming and Scheming

Licorice Pizza Review: California Dreaming and Scheming

by Stewart Cole

These moments are cheap and silly and add nothing to a movie that launches a lot of alternating scattering and laser effects: the OPEC oil crisis, water beds, the silhouette of palm trees in a night sky and the kind of stars that do not shine shiny. One of the repetitive beats that Anderson beats best on “Licorice Pizza” is what it’s like to live in a city like Los Angeles, where everyone is in business, seems to be or wants to be, and so they keep getting stuck. Hollywood and its promise, whether it’s Gary or the faded, middle-aged stars idling in the neighborhood. There, Sean Penn roars like a lush old studio as Tom Waits and other friends smile on the sidelines.

All the while, Alana continues to flare up and flare up, steadily illuminating Gary and the film as brightly as the July 4 fireworks, even as the story slips here and there, concentrating and losing momentum. The film does not always know what to do with Alana other than the dog after her, and it is particularly terrifying that while Anderson makes her the object of love and lust, she changes her sexual desire. Alana may have been lost, but she is not dead, quite the opposite. She is a woman who is alive in the world and knows her own attraction. But she is empty-handed, as virgin and safe as a teenage comedy heroine. She does not even ask Gary to thank her, not that she would know what to do.

Alana deserves better, damn it! Everyone knows it (OK, not Gary) even the Hollywood producer based on the real John Peters (a shocking Bradley Cooper) knows it. Brightly cloudy, a white shirt frames his hair on his chest, a pound of Coca-Cola (probably) on his nose, Peters appears after Gary starts a company with water beds. The business is a long, not very good story, but Peters, who is dating Barbra Streisand, wants a bed and he wants it now. This begins a series of tours in which Alana, who helps Gary run things, takes the helm of a monstrous moving truck. She is a natural, a genius, Streisand, Andrei, a goddess of California, and as she brakes, slows down and leaves, Alana gives you a vision of perfection and “Licorice Pizza” the guide you need.

Pizza with licorice
R rating for stereotypes, language and teens. Performance duration: 2 hours 13 minutes. In theaters.

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