I know how Eddie Morra feels. Like him, I know almost everything, but have forgotten most of it. We are told time and again that we use only a small portion of our brains and have enough left over to run nations in our down time. “Limitless” is about Eddie’s adventures after his ex-brother-in-law gives him a pill that suddenly puts his entire brain online.
He finishes his novel at typing speed. He wins at poker, invests in the market, and runs it up to millions. He fascinates a woman who had rejected him as a loser. He knows intuitively how to handle situations that used to baffle him. He is hailed as the Wall Street guru of the age.
Eddie is played by Bradley Cooper as a schlep who becomes a king. This sort of mental rags-to-riches progression has inspired a lot of movies; ever see Cliff Robertson in “Charly” (1968)? The difference here is that Eddie Mora remains himself before and after, and all that changes is his ability to recall everything he ever saw or heard. “Limitless” assumes that would be a benefit and make him rich, but what if most of what he ever saw or heard about Wall Street was wrong (as it usually is)?
The movie sidesteps the problem that what we need is more intelligence and a better ability to reason, not a better memory. For memory, modern man has Google. There’s no need to stumble over such technicalities, however; given its premise “Limitless” is passably entertaining. Abbie Cornish plays Lindy, the successful young professional woman who dumps Eddie as a loser and falls for him all over again when he becomes a winner. This is not sneaky on her part; there is every reason to dump the original Eddie and many good ones to return.