Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

(On Cable TV, September 2013) Buzzwords from Silver Linings Playbook’s script read like a bingo card of stuff I don’t particularly care about: mild mental illness, ballroom dancing and rabid sports fandom.  So it’s perhaps a relief more than anything else that this dramatic comedy ends up being better than expected.  Much of the praise should go to Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who manage to navigate a tricky path in portraying badly-flawed characters that nonetheless become endearing.  Lawrence, in particular, portrays a character far beyond her age, rounding an increasingly multifaceted screen persona.  The rest of the film’s success should go to writer/director David O. Russell, who doesn’t specialize in easy movies and here manages to deliver a refreshing blend of independent sensibilities with Hollywood A-list actors.  The mixture is tricky and doesn’t always work (Anyone bored with sports fandom will find lengthy stretches of the film almost interminable, although Lawrence does get a laugh out-playing superstitious armchair statisticians.) but Silver Linings Playbook does work more often than it should and that’s enough to qualify it as a success.

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