MOVIE REVIEW: Story trumps clichés in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

“Silver Linings Playbook” is a romantic comedy, so it’s filled with some of the same clichés as others in the genre.
The romantic leads meet cute, they have a falling out, they have odd relatives, and they have a shot at a happy ending. All those elements are present, but they’re not alone.
Director David O. Wilson wrote the script from the book by Matthew Quick. The resulting love story delves into mental illness and the often crazy ties that bind families together.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) caught his wife in the act of having an affair, and his temper and undiagnosed bipolar depression got the better of him. That’s why the movie opens with Pat freshly removed from an eight-month stay in a mental institution.
He’s got a plan to win back his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), but it would help if he’d quit losing his cool and waking the neighbors in the wee hours of the night.
His dad (Robert De Niro) and mom (Jackie Weaver) clearly care for him, but they have a hard time understanding what he’s going through. It’s equally clear that Pat’s not the only one with issues, especially since his dad is banned for life from Philadelphia Eagles’ games.
Friends arrange a meeting with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a recent widow who hasn’t handled the loss particularly well. These two keep running into each other, and a weird courtship ensues that involves comparing the different drugs they’ve been prescribed.
The scenes with Cooper and Lawrence aren’t always fun, but they are engrossing. The story and the performances lead the audience to believe a train wreck could happen at any time.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is often gripping, while also managing to be funny and cute. That’s a nice trick, and worthy of applause.
But the ending doesn’t live up to the earlier promise. Things happen out of the blue. The result isn’t a horrible finish, but I suspect studio executives and focus groups put their stamps on the third act.
I give “Silver Linings Playbook” an A minus.
It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo, as well as the Malco in Corinth and Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Kelli Karlson Wizard 106.7. She gives “Silver Linings Playbook” a D. “I laughed more at ‘Les Mis.’ This is not a romantic comedy.”