Kurt Loder Movie Reviews

Silver Linings Playbook

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, crazy in love.


Just back from eight months in a mental institution, to which he'd been consigned after pounding a guy he caught nude-showering with his wife, ex-school teacher Pat Solitano has returned home to Philadelphia to discover…that he has no home. His estranged spouse, Nikki, has sold their house and obtained a restraining order to keep him away from her. Pat's heavy bipolar issues—wild delusions and sudden rages—are still in full, scary effect, but he's determined to win Nikki back. All it will require is working out, losing some weight, and thinking positive. ("I'm gonna take all this negativity and use it for fuel!" he announces to his dismayed parents, with whom he's moved back in.)

Then he meets Tiffany, a sour young widow with plenty of issues of her own. ("I was a big slut, but I'm not anymore," she tells Pat very early on.) Tiffany's older sister is a friend of Nikki's, and Pat, thinking positive, leaps at this opportunity to reestablish contact with his runaway wife. Tiffany might help, but she also needs a partner for an upcoming ballroom-dancing competition. Pat can't dance, but Tiffany, in her cockeyed way, is thinking positive, too.

In Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, playing Pat and Tiffany, demonstrate that rare thing, an onscreen chemistry that's completely persuasive. They're wonderfully funny together. Cooper's Pat, in the grip of a raging delusion that he can somehow repossess Nikki, can't see anything outside of this uphill goal; and Lawrence's Tiffany, for whom acting very oddly is a full-time occupation, is being driven even battier by her inability to get Pat to see her.   

These two are reason enough to see the movie; they've never been better. And 22-year-old Lawrence, especially, is a revelation. Having already excelled in moody drama (she was nominated for an Oscar for Winter's Bone) and big-budget action (The Hunger Games), she here reveals a rousing facility for off-the-wall comedy. The script, written by director David O. Russell (The Fighter), is closely adapted from a 2008 novel by Matthew Quick, and it provides an unebbing flow of knockout  lines, not just for the stars, but also the unusually strong supporting cast: Robert De Niro as Pat's OCD-impaired dad, a bookie obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles; Jackie Weaver (Animal Kingdom) as Pat's mom, obsessed in her own way with concocting "crabbie snacks" (mysterious delicacies that remain mysterious throughout); John Ortiz (Public Enemies), playing Pat's best friend, a real-estate hotshot edging ever closer to nervous collapse; and Chris Tucker, back after a five-year hiatus following the last Rush Hour movie, playing Pat's fellow mental patient, Danny, a man given to nonstop, baffling blather.

The movie is packed with great scenes, memorable among them Pat's towering rant about the insufficiencies of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, which is hilariously echoed, later on, by Tiffany's squintingly intense dismissal of Lord of the Flies. (There's also a cute fanboy moment in which we barely glimpse the marquee of a theatre that's showing The Midnight Meat Train—the bloody cult horror film in which Cooper starred.) You know that all of this is going to wind up at the big dance competition, but that turns out to be memorable, too.

To call this picture a "romantic comedy" would do it a disservice. The characters are leagues away from the usual romcom clichés, and the dialogue is far more inventively tart. It's tiresome to hear reviewers hyping this or that funny movie as "the year's best," so I won't. But you get the idea.

NEXT: Petraeus is on the Hill to Testify on Benghazi Attacks

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  1. OK, Nutrasweet, go see this and then see if you still think Sucker Punch is the worst film in a decade.

    1. You are weirdly invested in this.

      1. Every time you won’t admit it, a new statist is born.

    2. What is wrong with you? Of course Sucker Punch is the worst film of the past decade.

      1. The Day the Earth Stood Still

        Not even fucking close.

        Wooden Keanu (with even more wood than usual, and not the good kind)

        That talentless shithead of a kid Jaden Smith

        A plot centered around the idea that a super-technologically advanced alien race wishes to destroy humanity at the dawn of the technical age because some baby seals got clubbed once, all told without a hint of irony.

        Said turbo alien then does us the enormous (and still terribly condescending) favor of destroying our technological base so we get to face possible near extinction as we descend into the inevitable wars of resource that would result, instead of letting the nanobots just eat us.

        This movie has shitty acting, terrible writing, and a stupid prog wet dream plot all in one.

        Sucker Punch isn’t a film masterpiece but it has hot chicks killing shit with guns and blowing stuff up, so I’m going to have to support Arrow-to-the-Knee in his quest to convince all you ‘tards that it isn’t the worst film of the last decade.

  2. Do people clothed shower?

    1. Usually involuntarily…

      1. I’ve been with several militaries that do.

        Ghurkas, Pakistani, Bangladeshis.


    1. But it should be.

    2. Is she a sex addict or simply a slut?

      Lots of sluts look like JENNIFER LAWRENCE.

      God bless em.

  4. Chris Tucker, back after a five-year hiatus following the last Rush Hour movie, playing Pat’s fellow mental patient, Danny, a man given to nonstop, baffling blather.

    So not much of a stretch for him then.

  5. The constant on-screen presence of Eagles jerseys in the trailer makes it it extremely unlikely that I will see this.

    1. Wear a brown paper bag just as many Eagles fans are starting to do. And don’t be so smug out there in NFL land; Andy Reid is coming to somebody’s team next year!

  6. Cooper’s Pat, in the grip of a raging delusion that he can somehow repossess Nikki, can’t see anything outside of this uphill goal; and Lawrence’s Tiffany, for whom acting very oddly is a full-time occupation, is being driven even battier by her inability to get Pat to see her.

    So it’s like a grown up remake of Better Off Dead?

    1. Who plays the Booger/Goov character?

  7. I like this story, and the romatic

  8. If you know someone with Bipolar Disorder, the movie will hit very close to home and if you don’t, the movie will open your eyes, making you more aware of how the Disorder affects not just the individual, but their entire family. The movie handles the issue Mental illness sensitively and honestly, and although the movie has some funny parts, the audience knows in no uncertain terms, that mental illness is no laughing matter.
    According to the National Institute of Mental Health bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year. The median age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years, although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40’s and 50’s. Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide.

    Regularly taking a few minutes to screen yourself for mental health related issues will help you better understand your chances of having a mental illness. WhatsMyM3 has developed the top rated mental health app in the world to screen for depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and PTSD. This screen is medically proven and takes just 3-minutes to complete. The screen that can be taken online, at your doctors office or on your iTunes app or Droid app. This tool is featured in USA Today and on ABC in Washington D.C.

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