Cheesy? You must be thinking of another movie. Director/screenwriter David O. Russell (“The Fighter,” “Three Kings”) covers all the bases from the opening to the end credits, navigating a script that drips none of the cheese offered by the other romantic-comedies that were released earlier in the year. “Silver Linings Playbook” is adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name, written by Matthew Quick.
Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), a Philadelphia native who has lost everything from his house to his job and even his wife, has just been discharged from the state institution at which he had been receiving psychiatric help. He moves in with his mother (Jackie Weaver) and father (Robert De Niro), while attempting to rebuild his life and make up for eight months of lost time. The rehabilitation process is a seemingly uphill battle as Pat is beset by a string of distractions such as his crazy but attractive neighbor Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), his family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles and his own animosity towards Stevie Wonder’s 1969 soul hit “My Cherie Amour” and Ernest Hemingway novels.
Our protagonist has it in his head that a miraculous silver lining will allow him to reunite with his estranged wife Nikki (Brea Bee), and he believes that everything will be better once this happens. He isn’t about to let anything stand in the way of reconciling with his beloved wife, not the 500-feet restraining order (filed by Nikki herself) and certainly not Tiffany, who is dealing with her own quandaries. However, Tiffany is determined to make Pat see his own self-worth, and even offers her assistance in mending his broken marriage, if he agrees to stick with her through her own personal crisis. As this unlikely friendship blooms, Pat finds himself going between his friends, Ronnie (John Ortiz) and Danny (Chris Tucker), and his psychiatrist Dr. Patel (Anupam Kher) for advice, all while struggling to stay sane for Nikki.
Bradley Cooper’s (“The Hangover,” “The Hangover Part II”) performance as a bipolar, rehabilitated drug-abuser reminds audiences that he can pull off weightier drama beyond slapstick and run of the mill rom-coms. But it is Jennifer Lawrence (“X-Men: First Class,” “The Hunger Games”) who really shines in this movie, and displays maturity beyond her 22 years of age in a performance on par with her work in other independent films like “Winter’s Bone.” Lawrence was both convincing and endearing in her role as a recovering sex addict, as she easily alternated between the rude and foul-mouthed as well as the sober, compassionate facets of her character.
Even the supporting cast hold their own. Chris Tucker makes a comeback from the “Rush Hour” days to lend his comedic dexterity to the film, showing that he still has a couple of jokes left in the tank. De Niro is as always De Niro.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is a hilarious, heartwarming and often times raunchy film that boasts praiseworthy performances and solid chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence.
Rating: 5 stars