Two hours after seeing Joy…
ME: (walks into living room, sits on the couch in a exasperated fashion)
MOM: What’s wrong? How was the movie? You saw Joy right?
ME: (Tired nod) Yeah, I did…
MOM: Jennifer Lawrence, right?
ME: (Takes Fandango ticket out of my pocket) Oh, yes! I saw Joy with (rips ticket in half) Jennifer Lawrence–(rips ticket again) filmed by–(rips violently) David stupid O’Russell–(throws shreds on the couch) with Bradley Cooper! (Takes deep breath)
MOM: So…it wasn’t very good.
ME: (Stands up) This is the worst movie of 2015.
This is my review of Joy!
Let me tell you what this movie was supposed to be about. Joy was originally the true life story of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano.
Then director David O’Russell said, “Nah, that’s not interesting enough.” So now Joy is a film loosely based on the life of Ms. Mangano (they never use her last name in the movie for reasons I still don’t understand) with the other stories of different businesswomen mixed in with Joy’s story.
The result is a clusterflick narrative, a projectile idea vomit, an overacted and overdirected story with so much going on that I gave up caring about any of the characters long before the credits rolled.
Bradley Cooper, why do you keep showing up in my bad movie reviews? Do you think I like picking on your work?
The only good parts were the few and far between scenes with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. They are the only people in this entire production who knew what they were doing. The three coherent scenes were the ones they were in.
Before I go into Super Saiyan rant mode, I will say that if you grew up with a ridiculously dysfunctional family, I guess you might relate to Joy and her struggles. If anything, this movie does attempt to capture the chaos of a quirky, yelling family.
However, if you are a person who has trouble staying focused, this movie will not be kind to you. Here is why…
The Misses/Everything Else
Have you ever walked in on a conversation where the people involved knew what they were talking about, but no one was filling you in on the things being said, so you’re stuck and surrounded by competing voices? Imagine enduring this scenario for TWO HOURS!
Focus is an urban legend in this movie’s universe. David O. Russell uses fifteen different filming styles in just the first act alone. The editing is frenetic, the story is riddled with way too many leaps in time and there are two random dream sequences that come right out of nowhere and are never mentioned again. Less is more, dude!
The dialogue is all trailer-fodder (i.e. catchphrases that are great for the movie’s trailer, but have no reason for being there in the finished film). It’s not even clunky expositional sentences; it’s just a random collection of words that no one would ever say in real life.
All right, I’m going to say what every other reviewer has said: Jennifer Lawrence is too young to be playing a divorcee with young children. She is playing a woman who invented the Miracle Mop in her mid-30’s. Jennifer Lawrence is unable to give a fleshed-out performance because every other actor around her seems to have guzzled down eighteen cups of coffee before coming on set and are suffocating the screen with over-the-top performances.
Joy’s family is insufferable to watch. Robert de Niro is the despicably selfish father who berates his ex-wife in front of his grandchildren, Virginia Madsen is the weak, TV-obsessed mother who never once asks Joy, whose roof she is living under, “Hey, can I help you out in any way?” Joy’s sister Peggy, played by Elisabeth Rohm, is annoyingly bitter. Not once do any of these unlikable people get their coumppence or rise above their flaws to band together as a family.
One more thing: Joy has two young children and she is wonderful to her daughter Christie, but basically ignores her son Tommy. Now I’m not a mother myself, but I was getting pretty mad at Joy for casting her young son off to the side with no explanation.
This movie was practically begging me to walk out on it, but I said, “No. I’m going to stick with it. It has to get better. It just has to…”
To my dismay, it never did.
This being Bradley’s third strike (see my reviews for Aloha and Burnt) and Jennifer’s first strike, it is with a heavy heart and a pounding migraine that I cast Joy into the nether regions of atrocious cinema.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to heal my brain by seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens (a good movie) for a second time.
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, pray for us.