David O. Russell’s latest feature is the kinda-sorta biopic dramedy ‘Joy,’ inspired by the real life rags-to-riches story of infomercial queen Joy Mangano, the inventor-turned-entrepreneur familiar to QVC and HSN shoppers. Mangano should be honored that she is played by none other than the wonderful, fabulous, lovely and talented Jennifer Lawrence, who delivered yet another solid and memorable performance.
Through three films (‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ ‘American Hustle’ and this one), it is easy to see how Lawrence has become Russell’s muse and favorite go-to actress. In ‘Joy,’ she is reunited with two actors who starred in previous David O. Russell movies, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. ‘Joy’ is not always a joy to watch as we follow the struggles of an underachieving former high school valedictorian single mother trying to raise her young ones while having to live with her deadbeat soap-watching mom and insufferable dad (De Niro), but for all that baggage her journey is no less a testament to the American entrepreneurial and never-say-die spirit.
‘Joy’ is the story of the woman who invented the self-wringing “Miracle Mop,” but it’s also a story of how, with the right combination of ingenuity, determination, timing and no small amount of luck, the elusive “American Dream” can be realized. While ‘Joy’ falls short compared to his two previous efforts, it nevertheless demonstrates once again that David O. Russell is one of the best storytellers working in Hollywood today.