SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
SYNOPSIS: Life doesn’t always go according to plan…Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything -- his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet - and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.
REVIEW: As another smash-hit, David O. Russell (The Fighter) is delivering this dramatic comedy that won’t challenge the audience, but will leave them upbeat and entertained without having their intelligence insulted. My thoughts are that this award-winning Director has tasted oodles of awards and recognition for The Fighter; so now he is focused on maintaining a winning streak with this latest release. Silver Linings Playbook, despite the mouthful of a title, looks like a strong, albeit conventional flick with plenty of attributes that makes for another obvious smash.
In it, Bradley Cooper plays the character Pat Solitano, a nut-job still living with his parents at age thirty-seven after being released from a mental institution. This is that dude that we can all relate to with a certain level of normalcy at some point in time in our lives. We all know that one person that seems quite normal on the outside, but as soon as we get a little closer; we start to realize there is something weird about the person. Well Cooper nails this role down to a “T.” The character forces one to feel a combination of sorrow and happiness while empathy and laughter sets in.
Robert De Niro, on the other hand, plays the character of Pat Sr. who, again, seems quite normal on the onset, but will quickly assume his title of “Senior” in every literal sense. De Niro’s character seems to have been the root of Pat Jr’s shortcomings, by all means. I thoroughly enjoyed the rapport between father and son. Amazingly, De Niro seemed to have transformed himself in to a neurotic, alpha-male stay-home father with dreams that seems far-reaching at best. I think he did a wonderful job with the nuances and demeanor of the character.
Other well placed characters worth mentioning are ones played by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Tucker, amongst others. Lawrence’s Tiffany character is hilarious, self-destructive and strong. I can’t imagine anyone else pulling off the crazy “psychobabble stunts” that she spewed, in the movie. Tucker on the other hand, plays Pat’s friend Danny who adds absolutely just the right amount of awkwardness to the story. He is as hilarious as one would expect from a former psycho-ward cell-mate of Cooper’s character. It seemed like non-stop laughter with his every appearance in the flick. Lastly, but not least, many of the lesser-known performers gives equally precise and impressive jobs with their characters.
All in all, watching nut-cases fall in love has never been as funny and pleasurable as Silver Linings Playbook. The film’s humor is the essential fortification against any over-romanticizing. Furthermore, the unfiltered dialogue between the characters is terrific, and it feeds the awesome chemistry between De Niro, Cooper, Lawrence and Tucker.
I certainly intend to watch this flick again and would not hesitate to give it four and a half out of five stars for humor, drama and overall excellent entertainment value.
By Movie-Man Stan
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