These moments are cheap and silly and add nothing to a movie that throws a lot of scattering and laser-like things: the OPEC oil crisis, the waterbeds, the silhouette of palm trees. on a night sky and the kind of stars that don’t shine. One of the recurring rhythms that Anderson hits best in “Licorice Pizza” is what it’s like to live in a corporate city like Los Angeles, where everyone is in the company, seems to be or wants to. be, and so continues to hold on to Hollywood and its promise, whether it’s Gary or the faded, middle-of-the-road stars idling in the neighborhood joint. There, Sean Penn roars in a lush old studio as Tom Waits and other pals smile on the sidelines.
Throughout, Alana continues to roar and blaze, steadily lighting up Gary and the movie as brightly as the 4th of July fireworks, even as the story slides here and there, and comes together and loses momentum. The movie doesn’t always know what to do with Alana other than a dog after her, and it’s especially disappointing that while Anderson makes her an object of love and lust, he bypasses her sexual desire. . Alana may be lost, but she is not dead, on the contrary. She is a woman open to the world and aware of her own attraction. But she’s a libidinally virgin, as virgin and confident as a teenage comedy heroine. She doesn’t even ask Gary to please her, not that he know what to do.
Alana deserves better, damn it! Everyone knows it (OK, not Gary), even the Hollywood producer based on the real Jon Peters (a sensational Bradley Cooper) knows it. Resplendent fluffy, a white shirt framing his chest hair, a pound of coke (probably) up his nose, Peters appears after Gary started a waterbed business. The affair is a long story, not a particularly good one, but Peters, who is dating Barbra Streisand, wants a bed and he wants it now. This initiates a stunt streak in which Alana, who helps Gary run things, Natch, gets behind the wheel of a monstrous moving truck. She’s a natural, a genius, Streisand, Andretti, a Californian goddess, and, as she brakes, slows down and moves forward, Alana gives you a vision of perfection and “Licorice Pizza” the driver she needs.
R rated for stereotypes, language and teen high jinks. Duration: 2 hours 13 minutes. In theaters.