Blowhard, Esq. writes:
In The Big Picture, screenwriter William Goldman says that when it comes to voting for Best Actor or Actress at the Oscars, he never chooses those who who are playing “drunks or retards.” “Actors kill for those parts,” he says, “Look, Ma, I’m acting.”
In David O. Russell’s latest, Bradley Cooper is nominated for Best Actor playing an bipolar manic-depressive who falls in love with a widowed sex addict played by Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence. Russell attempts a screwball comedy about screwballs, but unlike his previous Flirting with Disaster, I never felt like this film attained his previous one’s loose zaniness or unpredictability, perhaps because this film little more than naked Oscar bait, so it has to hit too many predictable, we’re-making-a-life-affirming-happy-movie beats.
After playing the villain in Wedding Crashers and the straightman in The Hangover, Cooper gets plenty of showboaty moments to use his Sexiest Man Alive looks to gain a bit of Hollywood respectability. “Look, Ma, I’m wearing a cheap jogging suit and a trashbag while I rail at my likewise mentally ill father played by Robert DeNiro! ACTING!” It didn’t help that Russell underscores Cooper’s mania, at least in the beginning of the picture, with more cuts than a Michael Bay action scene.
Thankfully, the movie gives us Jennifer Lawrence playing a nymphomaniac prone to wearing yoga pants. But for her, I probably would’ve walked out at the halfway mark. Twenty two years-old, her face still has round, babyish chubbiness that makes her look even younger. In the film her preferred form of therapy is dance, so it was quite easy for me to tune out Cooper and plot and focus on Lawrence’s eyes, neck, midriff, and hips. The fact that she’s not much of a dancer hardly matters.