The quadrio–Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and David O. Russell–of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle return in this semi-autobiographical film of Joy Mangano. Lawrence plays the titular character who grew up in an Italian-American family. As a child, she always comes up with great ideas. However, the single mother of two children starts a business dynasty and invents the Miracle Mop. She meets QVC executive Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper), and the product is shown on QVC. While this is happening, Joy struggles with her marriage with Tony (Édgar Ramírez) and debt.
For someone who loved Silver Linings Playbook and enjoyed American Hustle (although being slightly overrated), I consider Joy being David O. Russell’s weakest film. Is it a terrible movie? No; it has its moments of greatness (especially the scene in which Joy shows her product on television), but there are times in which the movie feels like a soap opera, which is ironic considering there are occasions in Joy where Joy’s mother (Virginia Madsen) is confined in her room watching soap operas all day.
Russell’s previous movies had an offbeat sense of humor. In Joy, the comedy feels as incredibly forced as the drama. It’s hard to resist the stellar performances by Lawrence (in her most mature performance to date), the great Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper. Joy left me with mixed feelings.