Thomas Ringdal’s review published on Letterboxd:
I struggle to see exactly what Russell wanted to do with this story. Is it a satire? Doesn't really feel like it. Is it an elegy on the American dream? I really don't think so, even if it could possibly be viewed that way. Is it political? Not in the slightest. Is it a rip-off of Scorsese? Yeah, pretty much, right up to and including the De Niro cameo. He nailed his little part, even if he could do it in his sleep, but it was oh so hard to watch. Is that all you could muster, Russell? If De Niro had any pride left towards his profession he would have said no to this, but that ship sailed years ago. In the end I couldn't be sure if he was parodying the films of the 70s or if it was a loving hommage. It was probably whimsically alternating between the two.
The ensemble is for all intents and purposes extraordinary, although Adams' accent comes and goes like the common cold. There is also a meticulous attention to detail wich is of course pleasing, but did they really need all that extra hair on almost everyone?
There are also quite a few instances where a side story is built up only to never be visited upon again, leaving me even more fed up than the number the running time, awkward cinematography and lazy script (monologues upon monologues, my GOD the monologues) were already doing on me.
It seems Russell was so keen on showing off how smart his film was, that he neglected the parts that didn't fit. That would be fine, had it been edited better, but as is I'm just left with a shrug.
At least Louis C.K gets to show that he actually does know how to act, after repeatedly claming himself that that isn't the case.