Marshall Fine on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, posted on 12.15: “It’s as if filmmaker and novelist [Thomas Pynchon] alike are commenting upon the art form by denigrating it, poking mirthless fun. Even as Anderson trots out notable actors playing what could be memorable characters — Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, a wildly lascivious and knowing Martin Short and a hammer-headed Josh Brolinhe strands them on little islands of his own whimsy.

And if that’s not enough: “I was an early fan of Anderson but over his past three films he seems to be playing a game of chicken with the audience: Bet I can make you watch without actually revealing anything about what you’re watching. How long will you remain engaged with a work that seems to purposely challenge the viewer to understand what the filmmaker’s getting at?”