As a genuine fan of romantic comedies, I've grown increasingly tired of Hollywood taking my favorite genre and turning into a parade of formulaic movies starring a billion famous people who just look pretty and then kiss at the end. Don't get me wrong, I like beautiful people, and I like kissing, but a good romantic comedy needs to dig deeper if it wants to win my respect. The best rom coms are the ones that aren't afraid to take risks, that are willing to explore the darker side of relationships so that, by the end, the audience truly appreciates the power of love. Sure, movies are a way to escape and explore another life, but a quality romantic comedy should be just messy enough to feel real. Like, maybe, just maybe, it could happen to you.
You can then imagine my relief (and excitement) when I first saw the trailer for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, a film based on the novel by Matthew Quick and written and directed by David O. Russell.
Right away, I knew that this rom com wasn't your standard package of cliches and high heels. After all, David O. Russell directed THE FIGHTER and THREE KINGS, so you know he means serious business. And then there's the deeply talented cast, including Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. I mean, that's not a line-up you're going to see attached to a film about bride wars or brunch wars or whatever. If you've seen WINTER'S BONE or THE HUNGER GAMES, you already know that Lawrence doesn't mess around, and her role in this film is delightfully prickly and intensely eccentric. Cooper is most definitely stretching his acting muscles as a mentally unstable man forced to live at home after losing everything, including his wife, and De Niro, well, he's De Niro. Enough said.
And if you need any further arguments in favor of seeing this movie, know that it includes both football AND ballroom dancing. Hello, date night movie! And if you come see it at the Alamo South Lamar, you can split a bottle of wine, a meal and make an already great film feel even better. So grab your partner or your best gal pals and celebrate a movie that makes me proud to be a rom com fan. Tickets available here!
(Don't just take my word for it, either. Look what these fancy pants critics have to say!)
"The chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence makes them a delight to watch, their spiky rapport failing to conceal a mutual attraction... cheerfully yet poignantly exposing the struggles, anxieties, disorders and obsessions of ordinary people, this is a film as odd as it is charming." - David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"Both as solo screenwriter and director, Russell assembles a small, bubbly cast for an unexpectedly charming romcom that frequently dances – at one point, quite literally – between cynicism and bittersweetness with largely winning results." - Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"An enormously entertaining, crowd-pleasing winner from the director whose comedic edge has never been sharper." - Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist