'Focus' and 'Maps to the Stars': Will Smith Outshone by Margot Robbie, David Cronenberg in Hollywood Hell "Focus" is a double-cross comedy that doesn't quite work. Will Smith plays Nicky, a third-generation con man and leader of a sizable crew of fellow swindlers who prey on unsuspecting marks at big sports venues. Margot Robbie is Jess, a minor-league …Read more. The Oscars: Parsing a Year Filled With Good Movies This year's lineup of Oscar nominees demonstrates more clearly than usual the essential irrelevance of all film-ranking competitions. Not that living-room Oscar parties and pre-ceremony winner-guessing aren't fun. But in a year as packed with good …Read more. 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and 'Kingsman: The Secret Service': Dakota Johnson in (Very Light) Bondage and Colin Firth on the Neo-Bond Spy Beat So E.L. James' hot-trash novel makes it to the screen, and the surprise is ... well, it's a chick flick; that's no surprise. But the film version of "Fifty Shades of Grey" is also sleekly made and sometimes quite funny. And especially in two aerial …Read more. 'Jupiter Ascending': The Wachowskis Flame Out in a Welter of Digital Overkill To judge by their plunging box-office grosses, the once-celebrated Wachowski siblings are an object of dwindling interest for many filmgoers. In the 16 years since they wowed the world with "The Matrix," Andy and Lana Wachowski have tested their …Read more.more articles
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, crazy in love
Just back from eight months in a mental institution, to which he'd been consigned after pounding a guy he caught showering with his wife, ex-school teacher Pat Solitano has returned home to Philadelphia to discover...that he has no home. His estranged spouse, Nikki, has sold their house and obtained a restraining order to keep him away from her. Pat's heavy bipolar issues — wild delusions and sudden rages — are still in full, scary effect, but he's determined to win Nikki back. All it will require is working out, losing some weight and thinking positive. ("I'm gonna take all this negativity and use it for fuel!" he announces to his dismayed parents, with whom he's moved back in.)
Then he meets Tiffany, a sour young widow with plenty of issues of her own. ("I was a big slut, but I'm not anymore," she tells Pat very early on.) Tiffany's older sister is a friend of Nikki's, and Pat, thinking positively, leaps at this opportunity to re-establish contact with his runaway wife. Tiffany might help, but she also needs a partner for an upcoming ballroom-dancing competition. Pat can't dance, but Tiffany, in her cockeyed way, is thinking positive, too.
In "Silver Linings Playbook," Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, playing Pat and Tiffany, demonstrate that rare thing, an onscreen chemistry that's completely persuasive. They're wonderfully funny together. Cooper's Pat, in the grip of a raging delusion that he can somehow repossess Nikki, can't see anything outside of this uphill goal. Lawrence's Tiffany, for whom acting very oddly is a full-time occupation, is being driven even battier by her inability to get Pat to see her.
These two are reason enough to see the movie; they've never been better. And 22-year-old Lawrence, especially, is a revelation.
The movie is packed with great scenes, memorable among them Pat's towering rant about the insufficiencies of Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms," which is hilariously echoed later on by Tiffany's squintingly intense dismissal of "Lord of the Flies." (There's also a cute fanboy moment in which we barely glimpse the marquee of a theatre that's showing "The Midnight Meat Train," the bloody cult horror film in which Cooper starred.) You know that all of this is going to wind up at the big dance competition, but that turns out to be memorable, too.
To call this picture a "romantic comedy" would do it a disservice. The characters are leagues away from the usual rom-com cliches, and the dialogue is far more inventively tart. It's tiresome to hear reviewers hyping this or that funny movie as "the year's best," so I won't. But you get the idea.
Kurt Loder is the film critic for Reason Online. To find out more about Kurt Loder and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM