3 1/2 Out Of 5 Cookies
There is a formula to these types of movies and I knew going in that I would like it – mainly due to the Oscar nominations. Anytime a “comedy” receives such respect I know it’s a movie that’s going to go above and beyond.
“As Good As It Gets” is another movie that, at the time, didn’t really register with me until all the Oscar nods – a 5–cookie movie if there ever was one.
Silver Linings Playbook has the same formula: Take one or two damaged characters who are essentially alone in the world, bring them together, and watch as not only them, but the world around them, blossoms into a bouquet of feel-good-osity. By the end of both of these movies you have an entire community of characters who have grown close to one another and despite their differences and the unlikeliness of these friendships, have found their shared humanity that is a bridge all over all the bullshit. Oh, also, its easier if your characters are bat-shit crazy to a certain extent, you know, to keep it interesting and add some of that after-school special allure around Oscar time.
So, yeah, in the end it’s a feel-good movie, but it meanders its way there in a believable way – which basically means that we take feel-bad road to our feel-good destination.
The meat of this movie is actually in the script and story, so mega props really go Matthew Quick, the author of the original novel. Not to understate the contributions of the cast or the director for assembling such a great cast, but let’s face it – writer’s rarely get the credit they deserve – and without a story, a fully-fleshed out and interesting set of characters, the other players don’t really have a lot to hang their talents on.
That said, some random notes about the actors:
Never was a big fan of Bradley Cooper – and, in fact, think that he’s pretty lucky to come as far as he has. If not for the success of The Hangover series, I don’t think he would be nearly as in my face as it seems he so often is with crap like “Limitless”. But that being said, it does seem like he’s parlaying his fortune into some good choices, including this one and the upcoming “The Place Beyond the Pines” that stretch his acting chops. His character’s freak-out over his wedding video shows what the dude is capable of.
It was nice to see Chris Tucker again after such a long absence, and as a bit supporting player he added a lot of humor to the movie. Hopefully he can keep getting these small roles, as he definitely excels in them. And maybe even larger roles – hell, maybe he needs to branch out of comedy altogether and go for some seriously dramatic roles. I’m sure he’s capable of it.
Jennifer Lawrence nailed it. This movie is the first one I’ve seen her in and she reminds me of clone-mix of Renee Zelweger and Juliette Lewis, with a dash of Kate Hudson thrown in. Still, I’m not completely convinced that she deserved an Academy Award. Comparing her performance to that of Anne Hathaway who won the supporting Oscar, Hathaway seems to have had a pretty difficult task in front of her.. Cry-singing goes a long way with me, and Hathaway had those tears a-rolling away. Add to that, the song was all done in one take and sung live…? So, yeah, Jennifer Lawrence was good, but I think if she had had some stiffer competition in her category, she probably wouldn’t have.