It must surely be the ultimate cliché: writing about successful people in Hollywood and their drug problems. With it happening around you and a book of personal experience on the topic, you'd expect a potentially great movie to come from it. That's why "Permanent Midnight" is a missed opportunity.
Ben Stiller Jerry Stahl, upon whose life the film is based. He was a successful TV writer earning plenty but spending more on a drug habit that was spiralling out of control. Married to the seemingly unflappable TV executive Sandra (Hurley), he also managed to squeeze in an affair along the way and nearly mess up the life of his baby daughter.
The bottom line is that his is a life of wealth, comfort, and respect among those who seek his services. With such a situation, his repeated attempts to ruin it are hardly going to elicit sympathy from the audience. So the success of the film then boils down to Stiller playing a figure of such charm that we'd all hate to see him hit the fan.
Unfortunately the script and Stiller paint a self-obsessed character so devoid of warmth or charisma that it's impossible to care about him. The deployment of crude and contrived scenes of Stiller shooting up just become stupid in their silliness.
If you want to watch a film about a schmuck who has everything and then pisses it all away, then this is the film for you.