For a movie called "Joy," this film certainly is a downer. When you see a film with the names David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert DeNiro attached to it, you automatically think "Silver Linings Playbook." This film is not "Silver Linings Playbook." The style feels awkward, the comedy is lacking, and we're all waiting for a quirky but cute love story that doesn’t happen. Jennifer Lawrence shines with an inspirational and emotional underdog performance but the rest of the cast just trudges along without adding much. I think that is more of a script issue that under-uses the talented cast instead of an acting issue. Melissa Rivers' portrayal of her mother is clever and cool. I keep mentioning how much if a downer this film is and the irony of the title isn't lost on me; however, even your run of the mill everything-goes-wrong,-even-the-good-things,-but-she's-going-to-win-in-the-end story has a few happy moments. Aside from two wisecracks by DeNiro, there isn't even much to laugh about in this film. The sole reason to see this film is for Lawrence’s stunning (and likely Oscar-nominated) performance. In spite of her impressive acting, I was disappointed that her accent seemed to drift in and out sporadically throughout in the film. To the point that I didn't even realize that she was supposed to have an accent until the film was halfway over. I am also disappointed with the number of factual inaccuracies in this film. The director of the film even referred to it as "half-fiction." Joy Mangano's onscreen alter ego is stripped of her real life college degree, her mother’s actual personality, and even one of her children! Plus one of the main antagonists of the film, her half-sister, is entirely fictional. It's fine to make a film inspired by a real person, but at least call it like it is. “Joy” is an interesting film that is worth seeing to learn about Joy Mangano’s success but its execution and lack of accuracy prevent it from reaching its full potential.
[Pictured: Lawrence manages to be amazing in every role that she takes.]