Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice is a mess of absurdities. It investigates the ludicrous conventions of the detective genre. It rambles through the self-indulgent, dying age of the hippies. It lurches along the vainglorious, narcissistic Los Angeles culture and cityscape. Anderson wants to package everything he can from his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon‘s novel, and while the result is occasionally interesting, the movie becomes enamored of its own cleverness in how it approaches its various topics with a sense of droll mockery, straddling the border of wackiness and respectability. We’re wound through a convoluted plot where the mystery may not be the point, but the points don’t matter when any emotional resonance is crushed beneath the weight of smug shenanigans.