Phoenix, 34, recently announced he was retiring from acting to become a full-time musician, and looks like he has already jumped years ahead into the lifestyle of drugs, booze and crazy eyes.
Friends say they are becoming frantic over Joaquin's increasingly bizarre behavior. "For people who know Joaquin, it's been an incredibly traumatic year, filled with chaos.
"Everyone wants to help but nobody's been able to break through. His bizarre behavior has everyone worried. It's just getting scary."
Earlier this year, Joaquin skipped out on the world premiere of his flick Two Lovers at the Cannes Film Festival, leaving costar Gwyneth Paltrow to promote it herself. His publicist said he had the flu, but he also missed the rest of the film's European premieres.
Check out the look P Diddy is giving him. "Bro, you have not been moisturizing the sexy."
The bloated version of his former self has been seen partying hard at clubs and bars in Los Angeles, and appears to have given up any and all personal grooming habits -- all bad signs for someone who just attended rehab three years ago.
At the time Joaquin said, "I wasn't an everyday drinker but didn't have anything else to do, anything to hold me down. I was leaning on alcohol to make me feel OK. That's what it really was."
Phoenix was present in 1993 when his heartthrob big brother River Phoenix died of a drug overdose on a sidewalk in front of the Viper Room. Friends say he never got over it, and pray his is not heading down the same path.
His peeps need to call Jamie Spears. Joaquin needs Britney-fication, and for the low, low price of Joaquin's soul, he too can revive his career, shed the pounds and churn out homogenized, benign "art" that rakes in the cash!