I’ve been sitting on writing this review for awhile now, nothing against the film but I decided I should probably write it before goddamn Bradley Cooper comes out with a new movie. His IMDB doesn’t back me up, but I feel like he’s in everything. This movie is a little weird tonally, I would call it a “dramedy”, but I’m not a terrible monster who uses dumb words like that. It has a more serious backbone, with Bradley Cooper’s character dealing with his bipolarism, but it lightens up a bit when his relationship deepens with Jennifer Lawrence’s character. The climax feels very rom-comy (pretty sure that’s not a word) with a dance number deciding everything both plot and relationship wise, while the b-side features a scrambling comedic tint with De Niro (yes, Robert De Niro’s in this), and everything riding on the betting of an Eagles game (Oh, I’ll get to this). IMDB tells me this is a comedy over a drama first, I don’t necessarily believe that, it’s definitely got more serious stuff on its mind, but it does come out fairly in the middle. The problem I think with dramedy’s (oh, god) is that they work better when they’re more dramatic or more comedic and have smaller bits of the other, rather than towing the line between them, as things tend to get a bit muddled thematically and tonally.
Now to the acting! It was all pretty good! I’m nowhere close to a Bradley Cooper fan, I think he’s way too boring and generic to be a truly engaging actor, and someone hard to look forward to in a role. Props to him though, as this is definitely the best role he’s been in, and really one of the only he’s had with some substance to it, so maybe he just needs to pick better projects. I’m not all too familiar with bipolarism, but Cooper did a pretty great job with its effects, and very impressively was able to transition from being completely crazy when off his meds, and then throughout the film when he slowly became better and more sure of himself being with Jennifer Lawrence’s character. Lawrence herself was pretty good as well, again I’m not that huge of a fan of her, loved her in Winter’s Bone, but am more interested in her attractiveness at this point. Her character was a little more of a stock piece, being the also slightly crazy, slightly sexualized divorcée, but there were moments that you felt true pathos emanating from her performance and it sold it all the way. De Niro doesn’t have much to do, but c’mon, he’s De Niro, and gets a couple nice scenes where he gets to blow-up and go all De Niro rage on everybody. Ortiz and Tucker were pretty funny, especially the former, and Jacki Weaver is awesome.
If you don’t like football, Philadelphia, or the Eagles, just skip this paragraph (I’m a huge Eagles fan, if you didn’t know, you probably didn’t). Basically, this movie is the greatest film ever made, because it revolves around how crazy this family is for the Eagles. Mainly De Niro though, who’s taped every game and is banned from Lincoln Financial because he beat a guy up there once, and believes that Cooper watching a game with him changes the team’s “juju”. “DeSean Jackson” is said about 100 times in the film, also the costume designers apparently were all like “fuck it, just let Bradley Cooper wear a DeSean Jackson jersey for like 90% of the film.” There’s an incredible scene, where David O’Russell just flips on the slo-mo and lets us experience the tail-gate festivities before a game, and it’s goddamn beautiful. I could watch that scene on repeat ‘til the day I die, and not regret a minute of it, except for it not having more of John Ortiz flapping his arms like an eagle. So, yeah, this movie is also awesome because of Philadelphia and the sports team I like.
A nice little film, but something I wasn’t floored with. The performances are all great, but going against some of the other performances that will be surely nominated by people like Affleck, Washington and Day-Lewis, Cooper has no chance in the Awards race. It’s a good film, but definitely not Oscar worthy, although it’ll probably get some attention. At least it’s not an Oscar bait film, where Cooper playing a guy with a disorder is played up to the enth degree, and then he dies all sadly or something. No, this a much more lighter film, and really all the better for it for being something it wants to be and not conforming to anybody’s else rules, that’s David O’Russell for you. Go Eagles!