Title – Joy (2015)
Director – David O. Russell (Three Kings)
Cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini
Plot – Desperate to enhance her prospects in life, divorcee and mother Joy (Lawrence’s) puts all her hopes and dreams into her invention of a self-wringing mop, an invention that could see her life changed for ever, for better or worse.
“Don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t”
Review by Eddie on 8/06/2016
After the one-two double whammy of the both equally praised and equally overrated Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, oddball director David O. Russell’s has taken his as per usual A list cast on a journey to of all things, the world of mops.
Mop enthusiasts don’t often get the chance to see their beloved cleaning tools take centre stage in big budgeted Hollywood affairs so Joy, the at one stage mooted biopic of Miracle Mop inventor and TV sales star Joy Mangano, will likely be quite the event for them whilst for the rest of us (as Joy’s so-so reception over X-Mas will attest to), Joy will be a curious little experience that is highly unlikely to leave a lasting impression.
A very uneasy mix of strange Russell infused comedy and family/trial over the odds drama, Joy has what seems like on face value the elements to create a really special something but with a bunch of characters that feel either underused or just not at all likeable, Joy’s central story of Jennifer Lawrence’s hard done by mother and inventor Joy’s journey with her wondrous new self-wringing mop isn’t the stuff of thrilling or inspiring big budgeted film making.
Teaming up with Russell for a third time, Lawrence certainly is Joy’s biggest win. Her Oscar nominated turn as Joy is another finely tuned example of her talents as an actress that can see her change from comedy to dramatics in the blink of an eye and Joy is her biggest test as an actress since her breakout turn in Winter’s Bone and she’s more than up for the challenge. With Lawrence in awards worthy form, Joy’s lack of meaty narrative drive is further hampered by an underused support cast from Bradley Cooper’s TV big man Neill Walker, Robert De Niro’s frustrating fatherly figure Rudy and Point Break star Edgar Ramirez’s odd turn as Joy’s ex-husband Tony who all seem to be floating along in a plot line that was perhaps as uninteresting to them as it is to us.
In some ways just as good as American Hustle (which isn’t saying much) and better than the downright tortuous Silver Linings Playbook, Joy is a watchable experience thanks to a spirited Jennifer Lawrence turn and a few nice moments but overall in the big scheme of things, Joy is yet another example of Russell’s flaws as a filmmaker that will eventually catch him out badly after a string of wrongly praised oddities.
3 melodrama loving mothers out of 5