Contrary to the general notion that you fall in love with Kerouac's "On the Road" at a young age or not at all, I tried, twice, to enter the novel, once in my teens, again in my early 20s, and couldn't get the hang of it. I had all the squaresville reactions: Too messy, too indulgent, too repetitive. Then I read it a year ago, in preparation for the world premiere of the film, and the insane momentum of the thing worked for me. I wish the film had more of it: The current, abridged cut plays like a highlights reel, without much breathing room between refills and reckonings. But Salles and his actors, particularly Stewart, find a kind of fluid motion and freedom that periodically makes "On the Road" make sense and makes it feel alive. Amy Adams, Terrence Howard and others come and go as various characters encountered on that road, along with Viggo Mortensen as the Burroughs-derived guru with the guns and the rather loose notion of parenting. He's very funny; the film, to a fault, is essentially dead serious.