I like well made romantic comedies. Well at least ones I proclaim as good like Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and more (raunchy) movies of the like. But I like Bradley Cooper, and really wanted him to make up for Hit and Run (I mean what the hell was that movie) and have a good performance in this. Also Jennifer Lawrence is adorable and I've been a fan of her since I saw her in Winter's Bone in 2010. I liked The Hunger Games and wanted her to keep that roll going. Instead I got a movie, Silver Linings Playbook, that left right in the middle of where I wanted to be.
Silver Linings Playbook follows the story of Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), who had undiagnosed bipolar disorder. He is released from a mental health facility and is cleared to go home and live with his parents. His wife Nikki (Brea Bee) has moved away in the eight months since he went in and his father, Pat Sr. (Robert DeNiro), lost his job and is resulting on gambling on football games to try and start a restaurant. Pat wants desperately to get back with his wife, who has since filed a restraining order against him. At one of his court mandated therapy sessions he tells his therapist (Anupam Kher), Pat explains that he was sent away because one day he came home to his wife having sex with another teacher in their shower with their wedding song playing ("My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder) and beats him almost to death. That night having dinner with his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles) he meets Ronnie's sister-in-law Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany is a young widow and a recovering sex addict who is also living at home. Pat and Tiffany form a relationship off of all their shared quirks and Pat realizing he can use Tiffany to get his wife letters. Pat getting back together with his wife is what he wants or through unorthodox (and dance-y) ways he can develop a new life with Tiffany. See which play he calls by watching this for yourself.
This movie was a mixed bag for me. As it's one of the better rom-coms, I'll admit, I really don't think it should be getting all the Oscar buzz and nominations it has. The music is well done and the score is good. But sometimes the amount they're drilling it into our heads that Pat is indeed bipolar, by playing "My Cherie Amour" over and over and over, is a little off-putting. The cinematography of sites around Philly and it's very close-knit family and friends are pretty good to watch. Times it seems like everyone knows what's going on between Pat and Tiffany and they're not afraid of letting us know, that everyone else knows as well. The acting by DeNiro and Weaver as husband and wife are awesome to watch throughout. Cooper and Lawernce (as well as his scenes with John Ortiz and Chris Tucker) are done very well too. The writing and dialogue, by David O. Russel, was more, real I guess you could say, than other romantic comedies and the tension between the families and characters were done well. It's much more serious with the humor, but that's a plus in this movie.
The story was as original as you can get with the whole rom-com scheme. Guy meets girl. Guy pisses off girl. Girl leaves. In the end guy and girl get together. This is that with more a feel with everything. The story felt real, the characters were relate-able, and the outcome (though predictable) is what you want out of a feel good movie like this is. Here's where my problem with all the praise this is getting is coming from. There's laughs. There's romance. There's drama. But in the end this is just an above average movie for me. Cooper, Lawrence and the rest of the crew did great and made this the above average movie it is, but still in the end this just a rom-com. Like the steps I listed, it follows them almost to a tee. I want movies to surprise me. Lawrence does well, Cooper does great and DeNiro is DeNiro. This movie was what it was though, above average movie watching. It was just okay.
All in all this is still worth your watch. The story is highly engaging and the acting by everyone is superb. The acting by Bradley Cooper is probably the best of his career and Jennifer Lawrence keeps her acting train rolling. With DeNiro, Weaver and Tucker, there are great compliments to the two main stars on screen. The writing is a helluva a lot better than most rom-coms as well. This is not Oscar worthy in my eyes, it has a ton of nominations, but who am I to say. Silver Linings Playbook was just an okay watch for me.
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