Thursday, December 31, 2015

Joy (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Joy” to the World On QVC Shopping Network
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Joy Mangano invented a self-wringing mop. She got rich selling it on the QVC shopping network. A film loosely based on her life as a divorced mother who becomes a successful entrepreneur is eponymously titled “Joy.” But rather than a biopic it’s more a Cinderella fairytale.

Jennifer Lawrence (that’s JLaw to her fans) stars as the young woman whose dreams got away from her as she deals with a dysfunctional family. This includes Joy’s divorced parents, a TV-obsessed mom and ne’er-do-well dad (Virginia Madsen and Robert DeNiro); competitive half-sister (Elizabeth Röhm); omniscient grandmother (Diane Ladd); ex-husband (Édgar Ramirez): dad’s rich Italian girlfriend (Isabella Rossellini): mom’s plumber boyfriend (Jimmy Jean-Louise); and supportive best friend (Dascha Polanco).

You can add her QVC boss (Bradley Cooper), the figurative prince who saves her. But in this tale of women’s self-empowerment, Joy goes a long way to save herself from a discouraging family, patent-infringing Texan, and the callous business world in general.

Toss in cameos that include QVC pitchwoman Joan Rivers (her daughter Melissa Rivers) and soap opera divas (Susan Lucci and Donna Mills).

You can find “Joy” plying her wares at the Tropic Cinema.

“When I met Joy, I was so inspired by her personality,” Jennifer Lawrence describes the real-life woman. “She has a very quiet power … and a really magnificent held-back strength.”

Today, Joy Mangano holds more than 100 patents for her inventions. These range from velvet-flocked, no-slip hangers to shoes with a rubber platform heel to a line of home odor neutralizers. “I think my products have been successful because they have mass appeal,” she says. “I’m just like everybody else out there. I’m a mom, I work, I have a house to clean, things to organize. We all have certain similar needs, and I address them.”

While Joy’s success in overcoming personal obstacles to become a multimillionaire inventor is meant to be inspirational, the movie itself is strangely joyless. Nonetheless, Jennifer Lawrence sells you on the movie just as surely as Joy Mangano sells people on mops.

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