Thursday, 6 September 2012

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK - TIFF 2012 - Review By Greg Klymkiw

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) *
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles
Dir. David O. Russell

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Is there anything more sickening in the world than a whimsical romantic comedy? Why yes! Whimsical romantic comedies most often take the crown for inspiring involuntary regurgitation when the attractive lovebirds are certifiably insane (or in this case, they're bi-polar and/or depressed or whatever). Usually, it's the French or Belgians who are responsible for this sort of cinematic finger down the throat, but Silver Linings Playbook is American. This is not to say that Americans are incapable of rendering product for the genre I like to call "cute retard" movies (a la Forrest Gump or Rainman), but having to watch lovey-dovey whackos find each other is usually far more offensive.

How anyone in their right mind could actually stomach this picture is beyond me.

Bradley Cooper plays a cute (ugh) bi-polar loser whose marbles get super scrambled when he finds his wife in the shower with a dweeby co-worker. Our hero gets so madly out-of-control violent that he's forced into an asylum for treatment and slapped with a zillion restraining orders. As part of a court-ordered arrangement he's released into Mom and Dad's (Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro) custody, attends psychiatric therapy and promises to take his meds.

Of course, he refuses to take his meds and all manner of hilarity purportedly ensues.

Upon settling into his old bedroom in the family home, he discovers Dad's lost his job, pension and has turned to bookmaking for dough. Brad is deluded enough to think he's going to get his old job and wife back, but this is about as likely as China not becoming the world's next major super power. Dad and Brad are often at odds until it's discovered than sonny-boy appears to be a good luck charm for Father Dearest's bookmaking needs.

Perhaps they'll find some common ground. Ugh. (Dad, it seems, has a bit of an uncontrollable temper, so maybe there's also a bit of the old like-father-like-son juju going around. Double ugh.)

More sickening than pretty much anything in the movie (especially the idea of Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver's characters having sex), he meets the foul-mouthed fellow whacko Jennifer Lawrence in a horrendous dinner party meet-cute where they compare notes on meds.

Watching attractive leads compare psycho meds is so cute. Isn't it?

Yes-siree-Bob, they're pretty much made for each other and there's no fear they won't end up a couple. What's particularly bile-inducing is when she recruits Brad to be her partner in a dance competition the same day he's supposed to help Dad's bookmaking mojo during a football game. Gee Willikers! Aren't you trembling with trepitude? Or, perhaps even the moral turpitude that watching this abomination might inspire?

Ultimately, everything works out peachy-keen for everybody. That's a shock, isn't it?

Dance - I kid you not - proves to be highly therapeutic for our lovebirds (SUPER-MEGA-UGH). This, I'm sure will make you feel all warm and tingly, mais non? Perhaps all whack-jobs (and those who aren't) will learn a lesson or two from this. I know did.

As a bonus, the movie features, on the way to romantic bliss, no less, a sequence involving a lot of yelling. Thank Christ Robert De Niro's in the house.

And what are we supposed to make of Jennifer Lawrence who was so terrific in Winter's Bone as the white trash girlie looking for her Daddy's corpse in the southern bayous? Since that time, she's proven to be virtually unwatchable, especially as the ridiculously-named Katniss in the equally execrable Hunger Games.

Most inexplicable is how Lawrence won a Best Actress Oscar for this stinker. In a year of many great female performances and roles (including astounding work from fellow nominees Jessica Chastain, Emmaneulle Riva and Naomi Watts), one can only assume the Academy's members felt the most challenging work could only come from someone who was convincingly able to pull off cute, crazy and potty-mouthed. When necessary, Lawrence was also suitably dewy-eyed and, most handily, displayed the ability to shout as loud as Robert De Niro.

And that, my friends, takes some doin'.

"Silver Linings Playbook" premieres at TIFF 2012.