(USA, 124 min.)
Dir. David O. Russell, Writ. David O. Russell. Annie Mumolo
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Edgar Ramirez, Elisabeth Rohm
Joy reminds me of another movie. Not a David O. Russell movie, though. (At times, it seems like a parody of one.) Rather, Joy calls to mind an oft-maligned movie of 2005 that’s actually a lot better than people say. That film is Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown. Elizabethtown, like Joy, is a film that one shouldn’t necessarily begrudge another moviegoer for disliking: it’s rocky, wildly uneven, and the first thirty minutes are terrible enough to inspire a walkout. But if one survives Elizabethtown’s atrocious opening number, one finds that the film’s actually decently watchable. Ditto Joy, which grates on the nerves with a get-me-the-hell-outta-here first act, but then settles down for a watch that’s pleasant and rewarding enough to merit a recommendation tied with a warning.