Friday, November 16, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook Movie Review

From our friends at DC Film Review...

Silver Linings Aplenty: Excelsior!

It’s about time that somebody captured what real romance is all about. It’s not Pretty Woman (where hookers get rescued by multi-millionaires) or a Jennifer Lopez flick where the maid, mobster lesbian or wedding planner runs off with the man of her dreams. No, real love is two crazy people, who hit if off while comparing favorite medications. David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is one such story. Sporting an impressive cast led by Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver, Russell’s masterpiece is the ultimate blend of drama, funny and romance... and quite possibly the year’s best film.

IMDb Plot: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

What’s Good: Cooper and Lawrence are equally fantastic as two lost souls who have no problem telling it like it is. Cooper’s Pat carries a blank expression everywhere he goes, insisting, ‘I’m not the explosion guy.’ All evidence to the contrary. The dynamic between each and every character is breathtaking, especially the mojo between Pat and his parents Pat Sr. and Dolores (De Niro and Weaver.) In fact, Weaver manages to out-mother Melissa Leo (The Fighter) who won an Oscar for her effort. Even bit players (Chris Tucker, John Ortiz and Anupam Kher ‘DeSean Jackson is da man!’) shine in this communal display of great acting.

Best Inappropriate Moment: When Pat catches his wife and the school’s history teacher taking a shower together, said teacher actually has the nerve to tell Pat, ‘You should go.’ Pat proceeds to do what every red-blooded man in America should do... He beats the bejeebers out of him. Way to go Pat!

They Said It: De Niro steals the show with fatherly advice, ‘Don’t drink too much. Don’t hit anybody. You’ll be alright.’ and a priceless ‘Holy sh*t!’ when he checks out the competition at a pivotal dance contest near the end of the film. Pat takes second place for questioning the neighborhood cop, ‘Since when do cops have business cards?’

What’s the Grade? Russell has finally erased any bad will generated from 2004’s disastrous I Heart Huckabees, perhaps the worst film in the past two decades. It’s clear that Russell gets the family dynamic (The Fighter and now Silver Linings) but what impresses me most about his latest effort is how well he combines three entirely different genres. Just when you think the movie’s starting to lean heavy, Russell breaks things up with something funny. Perfect timing.

The pace is lighting fast, but never out-of-control. Lawrence, 22, goes toe-to-toe with Cooper for 15 rounds, never once faltering. ‘You can fu*k me, if you turn the lights off,’ offers Tiffany, to which Pat can only muster, ‘Wait, what?’ Everything they do seems strange (even dinner: Pat orders Raisin Bran, Tiffany? Just tea.) but perfectly reasonable. Ditto for Silver Linings Playbook: Strange, yet reasonable... and thoroughly enjoyable.

Grade: A