Movie Review: Joy
Joy is like thinking you’re going to eat a Thin Mint and actually biting into a Grasshopper cookie -- it’s alright, but it’s definitely not the top quality Girl Scout brand. I was excited to see the movie because to me, the advertisements made it look like an uplifting, quirky film with some great actors (Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper). While there are great actors and it is a quirky movie, it’s not quite what I had in mind.
The film follows Jennifer Lawrence as Joy, who is stuck in a housewife rut and wants to try her hand at inventing, namely, a fresh new idea for a mop.
I should probably just stop the review there, because if I had read or seen anything that told me the entirety of this movie was about how a woman invents and sells a mop, I would not have gone to see it. I mean, it’s a great (somewhat true) story, but really? A mop? Sorry, but I really don’t care that much about mops.
And the movie really doesn’t do the great actors any justice. Jennifer Lawrence plays who she always plays – fierce pro-woman independent underdog heroine –and it’s getting a little old on her. Robert DeNiro was much better in Silver Linings Playbook, which was also directed by David O. Russell. His character in Joy isn’t well developed and feels a bit confused. And Bradley Cooper’s role could have been completed by any actor; if it wasn’t Cooper, the actor playing this role wouldn’t have made the movie posters at all.
That’s not to say the movie is horrible, but it’s certainly not a thrill ride. Or a real cookie.
Stars: 2 out of 5
What to bring: Something to eat to fight the boredom
BOB's TAKE: Maybe Allie won't say this movie is horrible, but I will. Joy feels like writer/director David O. Russell is phoning it in. It's theoretically a comedy, but there aren't really any jokes. Instead of jokes, we get a bunch of characters who are annoying and weird, and apparently that's supposed to be hilarious. Nearly everyone in Joy is immensely unlikable and deeply unpleasant to watch on the screen, except for Joy herself, who benefits from a case of the Biopics, and is presented as a superhuman goddess capable of everything.
Nearly everything in the movie feels half-baked and poorly thought out. There's absolutely no sense of time and place, even though the setting (especially the time) is crucial to understanding Joy's achievements and placing her accomplishments in the correct historical context. The film is narrated by Joy's grandmother, but her impact on Joy's life feels underdeveloped. There's a few obligatory feminist lines, but it feels like a complete afterthought. This film is the work of someone clever enough to allow himself to be lazy, but not clever enough to still deliver a good product while doing so. This isn't a film I can recommend for literally any reason.
Rating: 1.5/5 Stars
How does it compare to other David O. Russell Movies?
Worse than: American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, I Heart Huckabees, and everything else.