How, oh how, does a film like American Hustle get to be an Oscar contender? Yes, it’s big and it’s brash and yes, it’s emotionally manipulative, but jeez it’s a mess of a film, and I’m not even sure it has a plot. Conman Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale, with a paunch and a comb-over) and conwoman Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams, lovely) cut a deal with FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper in curlers) to scam other small time criminals in return for clemency. However, Irving’s loose-cannon wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) threatens to derail the entire plan….
So: it filmed in New Jersey. It’s authentically styled. It tries very hard to be zany. It’s absolutely meaningless. It’s like Pain and Gain (a movie so bad I didn’t bother to review), a period piece – all sound and fury signifying nothing – that distinguishes itself by hair-styles and sound-tracks. Style over substance, style over substance. And again, I have to say this: Jennifer Lawrence is completely and utterly miscast in a role that she’s 15 years too young for. Yes, she’s brilliant here but she’s just too young. It must be a Hollywood Insider thing. It’s like The Emperor’s New Clothes, and I’m the only one saying it out loud. Boring.