Now, that’s what I’m talking about! You may be wondering why i’m not reviewing ‘Les Miserables’, like I implied at the end of my last review. Well, in the words of one of my dad’s favorite songs, you can’t always get what you want. After seeing ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘Lincoln’, I was in the perfect mood for this movie. I needed something light after such dark material. And you bet your buttons that I got it.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) is coming home from a mental ward. He was put there because he saw his wife making out with another man and beats the heck out of him. He tries to adjust to life back home with his father (Robert DeNiro) and mother (Jacki Weaver), but he just can’t fit in. He wants to mail a letter to his wife to try to contact her again, but is unable to do so. That is, until he meets a young woman named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who promises to mail the letter in exchange for him agreeing to be her partner in a dance tournament.
This may sound like a cheap premise for a young adult comedy, but is executed perfectly by director David O. Russell, who knows what to focus on and what not to focus on. The last word of the title implies that this movie has a theme of sports, but football plays a very minor part in this film, which is good, seeing as how I have never been a fan of sports films as a genre. The writing is executed very well. There are some things that some viewers may find get in the way, but I feel they make the story more simplistic, and play to your heart more to your brain.
And then, there’s the acting. Much like in ‘Lincoln’, the main star (in this case Cooper,) is really the main focus. But unlike Lincoln, he actually goes through development and is a bit of a dark character. We identify with him because, quite simply, we all go a little mad sometimes. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’re all people, and we shouldn’t let it change who you are. Lawrence is the film’s big awards campaign, and while I don’t think she’s as good as she was in ‘Hunger Games’, she was still pretty amazing, and did get both happy and dramatic moments down really well. DeNiro, while not as big a contender as Cooper or Lawrence, did manage to do the ‘old guy comic relief’ a bit better than Alan Arkin. Oh, and Chris Tucker is in this, too. Yeah, he’s annoying, but I think that might have been the point of his character. Plus, he’s not in the film for very long.
Need a break from all this hardcore Oscar bait? Try some simpler Oscar bait instead. This film now has major awards contention, and I can see why. It’s a happy film that will leave you with a wonderful feeling inside, which is the mark of any good film. And in my opinion, this is one of the years best.
Oh, and I WILL review Les Miserables, just you wait.