Licorice Pizza: it doesn’t even take the entirety of their first scene together for the protagonists of Paul Thomas Anderson’s film to show the wonderful chemistry they have, and from there on out it is mostly smooth sailing for this coming-of-age tale. Both halves of this unlikely couple are winning on their own right: she is a short-fused young woman that is essentially rudderless in her life, while he is a child actor with confidence and ideas to spare. To top it all off, the film has plenty of hilarious moments and also one of the most exciting driving scenes of recent times. Alana Haim is delightful, solar. Cooper Hoffman is really smooth. They both give great performances, in relatively low keys. Sean Penn, Tom Waits, and Bradley Cooper have short scenes, all unhinged and very funny. PTA, co-shooting this film with Michael Bauman, uses a lot of traveling shots, giving the film a very distinct visual identity. Editor Andy Jurgensen gives the film a good comic pace. The music selection is excellent, and the costumes (by Mark Bridges) and production design (by Florencia Martin) very efficiently sell the time period.
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