Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Shea Whigham, Paul Herman, Anthony Zerbe, Robert De Niro.
Rated: R. Crime/Drama/A Little History. Running Time: 2 hours 18 minutes.
The hair. This movie is worth a watch for the sole purpose of seeing Christian Bale’s incomparable comb over. Or peeping Bradley Cooper’s remarkable perm. And the clothes. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence sport some deep v’s that rival that of awards season fashion. And the guys are looking sharp in big collared shirts with flashy bell bottomed pants. This amiable ensemble is the glue for David O’Russell’s sophomore directorial picture. The film opens with the intriguing bit “A lot of this happened”…which leaves the audience to deduce that some of did not. Artistic liberty, I would guess. American Hustle is the story of con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his sultry sidekick, Sydney Prosser (Adams). The pair are busted by the FBI during one of their loan scams and an overzealous agent forces the two to participate in a larger bust. That bust being the FBI ABSCAM operation of the 1970’s; an elaborate sting targeting corrupt politicians. The eager agent, Richie DiMaso (Cooper), is young, dumb and full of…bad ideas. He gets the trio entangled in schemes involving the mafia and the entrapment of some very high up officials. Including Mayor Carmine Polito (Renner), a family man of sorts who is widely known and loved by his constituents. Polito and Rosenfeld form a friendship, which serves in leading the operation to its limited success. And also leads to Rosenfeld developing a much needed conscience.
I was around during ABSCAM (Maria had not yet graced the Earth with her arrival), but I must admit, I don’t remember too much about it. A fake sheik, the FBI and some money hungry politicians. It did seem like the crimes were concocted by the feds and dangled in front of the poor saps. I suppose they could have said “no” to the cash, but as the deals were all fabricated, it’s somewhat like a wife sending horny, naked babes to her husband’s office and having them stick their hands down his pants; and then divorcing him if he cheats on her. Maria mentioned the hair and the clothes, which are indeed worth watching American Hustle on their own, but the acting?! Oh my goodness, the four leads here throw out performances for the ages. To me the subject matter was secondary; watching the interaction of these crazy, quirky, complicated characters brought to life by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and most of all Jennifer Lawrence, is better than any reality show on TV. Bale has been a standout since he burst on the scene in Empire of the Sun, and I always expect greatness from him. Jennifer Lawrence at 23 is already at the very top of Hollywood’s A list, as is her Silver Linings Playbook co-star Bradley Cooper. And Amy Adams hasn’t been nominated for five Academy Awards by accident, the girl can act! I mean honestly, how many more movies do you think will be made where Jeremy Renner is an afterthought?
Very true. Renner is always superb and it’s shocking that he’s so easy to overlook in this role. Lawrence absolutely steals the show as Rosenfeld’s manipulative and conniving old lady. She commands every ounce of attention every time she’s on screen. The casting of this movie is both interesting and impressive. I would never have imagined Bale or Cooper in either of the roles they portray here, but somehow it works. The heart of the story didn’t quite pique my interest as much as I had hoped. However, the conclusion did add some much needed spice. As Ross had stated, the fabulous performances are what drive this piece. Unfortunately, this was one of those cliché experiences when a movie gets way over hyped before you get a chance to see it. Too much awards season buzz mixed with friendly entertainment gossip. It isn’t going to make me forget about Silver Linings Playbook anytime soon, but I liked it.
I liked American Hustle too, I didn’t love it. I do love the stars of the film and can’t wait to see all of them in their future projects. The last Hunger Games with J-Law and hopefully a third collaboration with Bradley Cooper sooner rather than later. How about another in the Bourne series with Jeremy Renner? Maybe even bring back Matt Damon? What a kick ass duo they would make!! Who knows what Christian Bale will pick next, he loves to mix it up, maybe he won’t have to lose or gain weight for it (AH-fat. The Fighter and Rescue Dawn-emaciated). Certainly will be exciting to see what the future brings. While we wait check out American Hustle. ABSCAM as a backdrop, goofy hairdos, bad clothes and fantastic performances equals an entertaining couple of hours that won’t leave you disappointed.
Maria’s Rating: 3.75 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Ross’ Rating: 3.5 Gummies.