Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro Directed by: Neil Burger

Continuous improvement seems to be pretty much the only thing important to what we perceive as success: more profits, more efficiency, more productivity.  It is easy for the average person to get frustrated and perhaps somewhat disheartened by this manifesto.  Should we have already done more by now?  Shouldn't we be doing more?  Surely using this planner, that app, multitasking, delegating better, working smarter…something should unlock our ability to do more, right?

If you are a typical adult and you haven't ever gone through this inner monologue, you must be:

  • a freaking genius
  • transcendentally enlightened
  • someone who just doesn't give a shit.

Limitless speaks to our (or at least my) desire to see what's really inside the mind and understand what we could truly be capable of doing if nothing held us back.  Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper) has a book contract and serious writer's block.  His crappy apartment is a mess, his girlfriend is fed up with him, and he looks like a bum.

On top of being unceremoniously dumped and past his authorial deadline with nothing to show for it, he runs into Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), his shady ex-brother-in-law. Vernon buys him a drink, listens to his troubles, then slips him a tablet in a little plastic bag, "on the house."  Skeptical at first of this experimental drug that will allegedly unlock all his brain's power (not just that standard 20 percent), Eddie hesitates considerably before taking it.

But when it kicks in, the results are amazing.  The subconscious serves up long-buried facts, his mental facilities go into overdrive, and he completes more than enough of his novel to placate and energize his editor.

One brush with this type of power isn't enough – of course Eddie wants more, which requires more of the drug.  So he goes to see Vernon again, and Vernon promptly sends him out to run a couple errands. When Eddie gets back, Vernon has been murdered and his apartment tossed.  Fortunately the baddies did not find the stash, but Eddie does.

What does he do with this seemingly limitless energy and intelligence?  Finish his novel?  Learn a bunch of foreign languages?  Figure out an algorithm that allows him to make millions in a couple days of stock trading?  Realize you know kung fu via all those Bruce Lee movies you watched in days of yore? Party with a bunch of gorgeous Italian women?  Go cliff diving?  Race around in a purple Maserati?

All this and more, friends, all this and more.

Of course, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Though Newton's Third Law doesn't completely describe the rest of the film, and I was not able to conjure up the name of this law with just the power of Diet Coke or my 20 percent brain alone (I had to use Google Search), the binds Eddie finds himself in as he struggles with the drug's side effects kept me on the edge of my seat.  I highly enjoyed this movie, even though watching it made me feel like an underperforming buffoon.

If you:

  • Like science fiction or, more correctly, 'techno thrillers'
  • Have ever wanted to be able to do more than you are physically and/or mentally capable
  • Have ever had writer's block

Put it in the queue!

However, if you:

  • Just say no to drugs
  • Are nonplussed by Bradley Cooper's acting skills and/or blue eyes
  • Just don't give a shit and would rather watch a comedy

Don't put it in the queue.

Written by Jennifer Venson