Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper: TIFF’s People’s Choice obviously isn’t Wilner’s choice.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (David O. Russell). 120 minutes. Now playing. See times. Rating: NN
If you've been hoping writer/director David O. Russell would expand the excruciating dinner-table sequence of I Heart Huckabees into a feature film, your prayers have been answered. Silver Linings Playbook is two solid hours of actors being intensely actorly with one another, shouting overlapping dialogue and indulging in compulsive behaviour while their director whips his camera from one face to the next, marvelling at the spectacle.
Bradley Cooper plays a troubled young man whose parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver) bring him home from a mental institution with the understanding that he'll take his meds and leave his ex-wife alone. Naturally, those promises go out the window about five minutes after he gets in the door, and our deluded hero embarks on a campaign of manic self-improvement in hopes of getting his old life back. This is complicated by his introduction to a friend's sister (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow with issues enough for both of them.
Cooper and Lawrence have a great time scrapping with each other, and the scenes where the two characters just hang out and work on a dance routine (don't ask) are genuinely, weirdly enjoyable. But that's maybe 20 minutes of a very long, very self-indulgent movie that inexplicably won the People's Choice Award at TIFF 2012.