When I heard about Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper reuniting on screen after the incredible Silver Linings Playbook, I was excited, then add in Robert De Niro and the “true story” element and I was completely excited for this movie to be the next American Hustle, alas this movie held such promise and yet delivered a quirky let down that is only fuelled by the performance of its lead actors.
The loosely based true story of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) follows her life as a creative child whose family was ripped apart by her parents divorce, sending her mother into a recluse who spends her days watching soap operas in her bedroom, and her father into the arms of another woman. Joy puts her dreams on hold to look after her family, and in between gets married to Tony (Edgar Raimeriz) who is now her ex and living in the basement. Add two children into the mix and a house that needs a lot of maintenance and Joy’s life is the complete opposite of what she had planned as a child. After a few mishaps, Joy finds her creativity again and sets out to invent the miracle mop and sell it on a home shopping network headed by Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper).
This film started out beautifully, it was colourful and quirky, with some black humour. All of the actors were showing their A game and bouncing off each other. Each scene whipped back and forth creating the sense of madness that Joy lives in and the household she has to operate within. It was really a spectacular setting for the rest of the film. As it continued however this sense of whimsy deteriorated pretty quickly with a slow and uninteresting story that struggled to maintain my interest, leaving only Bradley Cooper’s appearance late in the game to revive the ending.
The trailer for this movie was so spectacular and in some ways I feel that if you REALLY want to see this film, you should, but don’t expect the grand, action packed epically inspirational tale that the trailer made it out to be, this just falls flat in the last 2 hours and will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
The only saving grace is Jennifer Lawrence who plays the character of Joy perfectly. Like her previous films she will captivate you, however the glaring holes in the script are painstakingly obvious and not even the one face that Lawrence makes can save it from falling into oblivion.
Joy showed such promise but failed to deliver anything beyond an average bio pic. One can appreciate the different direction that David O’Russell tried to take with this, but ultimately the story and run time let this movie down. Hardcore J-Lawrence fans may get some joy (ha!) here but my advice is to wait for DVD/Digital Download.
Review by Alaisdair Leith