Like all things David O. Russell, Joy is a lot of fun. He crams as much as he can into each scene—personalities, conflict, set dressing—and if you cut anything, you’d have to cut a lot. Better to keep his style and the excess than be stuck with a compromise.
His unique rhythm thrives in the real life rags-to-riches story of a single mother who became a home shopping dynamo. Russell’s muse, Jennifer Lawrence, shines (when doesn’t she?) as Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, among other household devices. Her personal and professional struggles conspire against her and she realizes the only way out is up.
There’s more good work from Robert De Niro—whom Russell used to great effect in Silver Linings Playbook—and frequent collaborator Bradley Cooper, but this is all about one of the best tag teams around, Russell and his leading lady.