Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Star Is Born...Again

Well, we already knew that Jennifer Lawrence was a star, but her latest triumph "Joy" solidifies her stature one more time.   This girl can really act and I was surprised to learn she's only 25.   There is a long, long career ahead of her provided her agents know how to pick good scripts.

Indeed, "Joy" might not have worked without anybody else in the lead.  It did not get good reviews and, besides the Oscar buzz for Lawrence, most friends told me they did not like it.   But I felt I needed to see for myself.   And, frankly, "Joy" is one of those tour de force performances that actually elevates a mediocre screenplay to soaring heights.   

This is a true story about famed TV shopping network star Joy Mangano who struggled to get past her dysfunctional family upbringing to make a name for herself.   Actually, she literally cleans up as she invents a miracle floor mop as well as some other nifty inventions for the home.   Joy goes from rags to riches and you follow the painful journey with her.   Lawrence brings out all the suffering and, as a result, you are completely invested in the character from virtually the first reel.

For me, who only really watches home shopping networks to laugh at the stupidity, this enlightened me to the actual world behind the scenes of these huge, money-making conglomerates.   Bradley Cooper, who along with co-stars Lawrence and Robert DeNiro appear in every movie director David O. Russell ever does, gives us a guided tour of then-QVC and that alone is worth the price of popcorn.

There are some wonderful touches in "Joy."  Her mother is addicted to soap operas and you see the same actors doing the same scenes over and over even though the movie spans almost twenty years.  You also get to enjoy Susan Lucci and my old "Knots Landing" Donna Mills on the big screen and that, for me, was worth the price of the Buncha Crunch I bought at the concession stand.   And, of course, "Joy" treats us to Melissa Rivers (!!!) playing her own mother Joan who also crafted a cottage industry selling crappy jewelry to housewives in Bumfuk, Iowa.  

I don't understand the bad reviews for "Joy," because I was captivated the whole way through.   But, at the same time, I realize it probably would not have worked with anybody else but Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role.

And I am betting she's going to give us a lot for many years to come.

LEN'S RATING:  Three-and-a-half stars.

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch so nothing really.

No comments: