Ya know that old myth about us only using 20% of our brain?  Or is it 10%?  In any case, imagine you could take a pill and it’d instantly give you access to 100% of your brain capacity, you’d have an eidetic memory and be able to recall everything you’ve ever seen, heard, thought about, experienced, etc. Instantly your IQ is multiplied, perhaps even by 10x or more. And if it cost $800/pill but you had a source that let you score the pills for free?  Very sweet.

That’s the terrific premise behind the new sci-fi thriller Limitless and it’s all the more of a disappointment at how poorly it’s been adapted to the big screen because it is a cool idea. Unfortunately, it’s not a great thriller because there are so many plot holes and illogical story twists that the film completely falls apart by the end.

Here’s the basic story: Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a bit of a loser, a wanna-be writer who even has a book contract but months later hasn’t gotten even the first sentence down. His cute girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish doing a terrible acting job) has dumped him and, just in time, he bumps into ex-brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), who slips him a tab of “NZT48” which makes Eddie better, faster, stronger and definitely a whole lot smarter.

So he decides his best approach to getting his life back on track is to… invest in stocks. Yeah, not so exciting. He ends up attracting the attention of über-investor Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro, still seeking a good role) and moves right into the Movers and Shakers of Manhattan. Oh, and Lindy comes back too.

Then things just fall apart and drop into stupid why-the-f’-is-this-happening mode, notably including the inclusion of dull-witted hoodlum Gennedy (Andrew Howard). If I had a four-digit IQ I wouldn’t be borrowing money from a loan shark. I mean, really. WTF?

There’s a seed of a really cool, really interesting movie hidden in Limitless, but as it is, I’d grudgingly recommend you check it out on DVD, but certainly not waste your money on theater tickets for this big-budget clunker.