Written by / 12/21/2013 / 2 Comments / , , , , ,

AMERICAN HUSTLE W/ BRADLEY COOPER & CHRISTIAN BALE

year: 2013 rating: **1/2
Never trust a movie that’s having a better time than you are… When New York con man Irving Rosenfeld meets his lady luck, an English accent faking Sydney Prosser, their business-honeymoon provides more excitement and pleasure for the characters than the first act of David O. Russell’s GOODFELLAS clone AMERICAN HUSTLE allows the audience to be part of: What’s really needed is that special someone to shake things up…

Let’s first point out that, like the work of newspaper caricature artists, two leading men can be transformed into average, goofy looking slobs… Christian Bale’s Irving resembles a balding Sea Lion while Bradley Cooper’s shifty FBI agent Richie DeMaso is a pointy gnu with a really bad perm… And both dolts are extremely in love with Sydney… Meanwhile, unlike the uglified males, Amy Adams looks better than ever.

Jennifer goes bonkers
After setting up and taking down Irving and Sydney’s scams, ranging from fake art to business loans, the main plot involves Cooper’s Richie making a deal: the couple have to turn in four lucrative con artists in order to regain freedom… This labored sting involves a bogus sheik, an idealistic politician and a dangerous mobster played by a surprise guest, who not so surprisingly wields the most intense scene that ends much too quickly.

The 1970’s are brought to life in all the glorious polyester by SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK director Russell, zooming cameras in the Martin Scorsese fashion as classic rock provides an ongoing soundtrack to the tantrums and heartaches, which often distract from the pivotal cons being dealt in a whirlwind pace.

And while every flashy deck needs a wild card, here it’s Jennifer Lawrence as the young and shallow, conniving and deliberately annoying Rosalyn, Irving’s trophy wife who, like Sharon Stone’s manipulative gold-digger from CASINO, is a bad luck charm thwarting the hard work earned by the real players.  What’s more tragic is she eventually pushes Adams… who had genuine femme fatale potential… into a somewhat benign backseat: To give away the twists would be a crime, and to fill in the clues a sin, but ultimately HUSTLE unveils who we were subliminally rooting for and against… It’s too bad we didn’t have more reason to love and hate these people along the way… Although, for better or worse, they do take us for a ride.
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2 comments:

  1. It's all hip, humorous, sad, edgy and immensely entertaining, this sprawling period parable about a group of greedy people who aren't who they purport themselves to be.
    Best Alaskan halibut Captain Jacks

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  2. Tried too hard to be hip. Trumped a good, clean plot.

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