Written and Directed by: David O. Russell
Starring: Jennifer Lawrene, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellino, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Elisabeth Rohm, and Dascha Polanco
Special Features: Joy, Strength and Perseverance featurette, Times Talk with Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell and Maureen Dowd, Gallery, Digital HD
From the box:
JOY is the wild story of a family across four generations, and centers on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Oscar® Winner JENNIFER LAWRENCE* stars with fellow Oscar® Winner ROBERT DE NIRO,** BRADLEY COOPER, EDGAR RAMIREZ, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI, DIANE LADD, VIRGINIA MADSEN, ELISABETH RÖHM and DASCHA POLANCO. Like David O. Russell s previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty, and love.
Unfortunately, that box is misleading. Joy is nothing if not a let down on almost every level. What should have been an interesting, inspirational story was instead a meandering shrug of a film. With one very strong exception: Jennifer Lawrence.
As disappointing as this movie is, Jennifer Lawrence makes it watchable. She is so delightfully good in this film that it distracts you from just how lousy the rest of it is. She’s wonderful and unfortunately, even she can’t make this the great movie it was supposed to be.
Joy just feels joyless. It feels like a chore to watch (especially when Lawrence isn’t on screen). Were it not for Jennifer Lawrence, I honestly don’t think I would have made it through the thing. To be fair, as it progresses, it does get a little better but it never veers away from the frustration the viewer feels watching it. It’s hard to nail it down, why isn’t this working? It’s pedigree is sound, it’s casting is great. What is it that’s jus t making it not work?
To be honest, I can’t answer that question. It just never connects for me. I don’t think the script really has any emotional connection or really any emotional weight. It feels hallow and if Russell didn’t have the drive to pack any kind of emotional gravitas into this story, why should I care about it?
As for the blu-ray, it’s pretty weak in terms of features. There’s nothing really here. The film looks great sure, but if it does have any fans out there, they might want more than a couple featurettes and a useless digital copy.
I really wanted to love Joy. I was excited for it, had high hopes for it, but even a great Jennifer Lawrence performance can’t save a medicore movie when it feels like the driving force behind it just didn’t really care about it in the first place.
Joy is available on DVD and Blu-ray now, but I’d wait for cable.
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.