Review: Silver Linings Playbook

November 12, 2012, 11:04 am
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I make a habit of steering clear of trailers. The way I see it, the likelihood is pretty high I'll catch the film so what's the point in having something spoiled by trailer TMI? Press kits, on the other hand, are fair game. After all, where do you think that snazzy studio promo pic up above came from?

Now upon first sight of said picture, I thought: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, marvelous casting for a brother/sister combo. He's in his late 30s, she in her early 20s – it works. So imagine my horror upon discovering the pair aren't siblings but rather lovers in Silver Linings Playbook, a thoroughly annoying and staggeringly laughless quirkfest featuring the most alarmingly miscast role of 2012.

Cooper is Pat, a former high school teacher attempting to get his bi-polar life back together after being institutionalized for beating the tar out of his wife's lover. Still pining for her cheating heart, Pat spends his days devising ways to get around the 500-foot restraining order she has against him whilst running about Philly in a sweatshirt covered with a garbage bag. That's your cue he's not just slightly off balance, he's somewhat eccentric.

Enter Lawrence - keeping her string of playing sullen characters intact - as Tiffany, a recently-widowed, emo-wannabe blessed with an array of personality disorders which make she and Pat the perfect damaged-soul pairing. The duo do the whole "I'm veiling my attraction for you behind an act of disdain" routine, but as we all know, there's no denying a bond over the adoration of Klonopin.

It's an impossibility to buy Lawrence as Cooper's soulmate – there's a litany of actresses better suited for the role that wouldn't instantly conjure up images of the aforementioned brother/sister relationship. Though she's been featured in roughly every third film of late, Emma Stone would be an infinite improvement – she "plays older" than Lawrence. On a side note, is Lawrence even capable of smiling?

The film is cluttered with a crush of maddening-as-all-get-out characters. Robert De Niro is Cooper's OCD-stricken, Philadelphia Eagles-fanatic father and Chris Tucker comes out of witness protection to serve the role of Oliver from The Brady Bunch – where did he come from, why in the heck is he always around, and how is he able to track Cooper down anywhere, anytime? LoJack?

Forget The Fighter, director David O. Russell is back to his quirky I Heart Huckabees form with the adaptation of Matthew Quick's 2008 novel. Silver Linings Playbook drags on for two hours but I swear it was three. While the credits claim Jay Cassidy as the editor, I'd love to see which frame of film he actually edited. Can't wait to see what the director's cut clocks in at.

With seemingly everyone involved in the effort delivering a rambling, ranting monologue, I don't blame the guy behind me for snoring through 95% of the thing. His dreams had to be more enjoyable than this prosaic psychobabble.

Final Cut Score: 67%

Follow Erick on Twitter: @ErickWeber

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It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
             
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

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