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Paul Thomas Anderson shits the bed of his own movie with a couple of truly horrendous scenes of anti-Asian caricature.
Not funny. Not right. Just openly insulting, humiliating, and mean.
The ostensibly comic scenes cut "Licorice Pizza" into as many parts as slices of a classic cheese pie.
The outrageous scenes sit apart from anything else in the movie.
Charitable to call Anderson's heavy-handed racist text and subtext insensitive.
Pointed, might be more like it.
For all of the '70s era sex joie de vivre that Anderson celebrates, the writer/director ruins his own inspired creation.
So while its ensemble efforts of actors and filmmakers create something magical, the spell is broken.
"Licorice Pizza" is doomed to the confines of its racist attitudes, that it normalizes by its very existence.
What a waste.
Rated R. 133 mins.