I must say that Michael Atkinson is not on the mark with this review. There is not any apparent knowledge of the source material nor any acknowledgment of the difficulty of adapting this book, Big Sur.
I find that film reviewers are so demanding and precious these days that it must be like walking on eggshells now more than ever for filmmakers. Film critics are just pre-prepared to slash and burn a film, sight unseen, in their reviews, often trashing work before it is allowed to breath. Too many preconceptions and, perhaps, envy of working filmmakers - it seems that many of these reviewers would so rather be making a film, that they expect these working filmmakers to produce at least a flawless masterpiece every time around, just for having had the chance to film, the chance that the reviewers would love to have. Then they sit looking at these films from what they think of as some sort of 20/20 vision, watching for flaws, judging, condemning. That's too brutal and it's not productive. Most films and novels don't really land safely. Most do fail, ultimately - but critics are not helping matters at all. I dare say that Stephen Soderbergh probably retired partly due to the fatigue caused by the enormous crap heap issued from film critics and other armchair perfectionists.
It would be nice to see film critics be more balanced and follow some respectful guidelines in their approach to these reviews.