"Silver Linings Playbook”
Is Crazy Like a Fox
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
When I was in college, a guy I knew disappeared for a few weeks. Turns out, he had been committed to a mental institution because of his bizarre behavior. Heck, everyone I knew at school acted bizarre. He claimed he had been overmedicated by the campus infirmary and had a battery of lawyers to back up that assertion. In order to avoid a lawsuit, he was given a certificate declaring him legally sane. After that, he acted crazy with impunity. I remember when he set the trashcan in my dorm room on fire. We always looked at him with suspicion from that point on.
“Silver Linings Playbook” – the new movie at the Tropic Cinema – tells a similar story. We come face-to-face with Pat (Bradley Cooper), a high school teacher who has been hospitalized for his bipolar disorder. Seems he acted out (translation: beat the crap out of) a fellow teacher he caught having sex with his wife Nikki (Brea Bee).
Now that he’s been released, he’d like to get back together with Nikki, but she has moved away, not to mention taking out a restraining order against him. Bummer.
He meets up with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the wacked-out sister-in-law of a friend, a young woman whose husband has recently died, leaving her as neurotic as Pat. They hit it off in an odd-duck way, and before you know it she’s coerced him into entering a dance contest with her. And Pat’s dad is betting the farm on their score in the competition.
Like my grandmother used to say: crazy is as crazy does.
She also used to say: crazy like a fox.
This is a romantic comedy about two emotionally damaged people. Many film critics are including it on their Top Ten Films of 2012 list.
Funny that the climax of the film centers around a dance contest. “I’m such a bad dancer,” admits Jennifer Lawrence. “I don’t have many talents: I’m not a good cook, I can’t clean, and I can’t sew. The only thing I can do well is shoot bow and arrow—which I learned to do for ‘The Hunger Games’ and will probably never come in handy—and act. Imagine me 100 years ago: I would have been pointless.”
The 22-year-old actress who was nominated for an Oscar in “Winter’s Bone” and who has starred in two major movie franchises (“X-Men” and “Hunger Games”) almost didn’t get the part because of her age – too young to play a romantic lead against 38-year-old Bradley Cooper. “People always worry that I’m wrong for the part: I’m usually too young—or, in the case of Katniss, they thought I was too old. I was blonde, and Katniss is brunette. So many problems. There were a lot of things that we just brushed under the rug.”
Lucky for us. Lawrence and Cooper give us a crazy ride as two crazy people who are meant for each other.