American Hustle

 

Columbia Pictures

 

Rating: R

 

Reason for the Rating: Pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence.

 

Plot Summary: Two con artists become entangled in an FBI operation that attempts to bring down political figures, but could threaten their own lives as well.

 

PopFam Recommends: Doesn't live up to the hype or the expectations.

 

So, with all the Oscar and Golden Globe love about American Hustle, I was looking forward to seeing a movie worthy of all the buzz. Maybe it's because of all the excitement that I was honestly disappointed in this film.

 

American Hustle takes place in the late 1970's in New Jersey. Think disco and long hair. Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are con artists who team up against the struggling of this world. "Give me $5,000 and I'll give you a loan," except they never actually give anyone a loan. And then they are caught in an FBI operation, when agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catches them for their little scheme. He convinces them to help him catch others in similar situations, and then he'll let them go free. Sounds attractive, but what they get into is so far over their heads it's ridiculous.

 

Ridiculous is really a good word to use for this movie. Maybe that's why it's billed as a comedy, even though a chuckle won't ever pass your lips. The characters are ridiculous. Take Irving Rosenfeld, the lead character. Overweight and balding with a comb over that rivals Donald Trump's, while wearing a velvet jacket with a silk cravat. Ridiculous. Or Ritchie DiMaso, the FBI agent who is completely incompetent, lives with his mother in a run down apartment, and curls his hair with perming rods. I found them more annoying than endearing or funny. Which is possibly why several people got up and left the movie about 45 minutes in.

 

Or it could have been the plot. Told from the perspective of Irving and Sidney, it slowly details how they met, got caught in this insane web, and worked their way out. Did I mention it was slow? Two hours of dialogue and bizarre characters making outlandish decisions leading to more lunacy. I suppose this is all why it is billed as a comedy, but it's unlike any comedy I've ever seen.

 

The only bright spot in the movie was Jennifer Lawrence. Which is probably why she won an award. Lawrence was perfect as Irving's wife, Rosalyn. Sarcastic and the perfect blond (she starts a fire in the new microwave by putting a foil covered, foil pan in the oven, even after being told, 'Don't put metal in the science oven.'" She also likes the smell of her fingernail polish, because it smells sweet, but rotten at the same time. Huh?), Rosalyn is what you wait for in the movie. Her character is interesting, layered, and fun to watch. They should have made more of the characters like her.

 

So, should you see this movie? If you like to see all the movies nominated for the Oscars, then you'll probably want to head out and see it. Maybe you'll like it after being told of the character flaws and slow pacing. If you can, wait for it to come out on DVD. Trust me, you won't miss anything by seeing it on the small screen. It's not a family movie, with lots of language and sexual images (think Amy Adams with her breasts barely covered throughout the movie), it's probably not a movie you want your younger children to see, so a DVD after bedtime is perfect.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• What was the ending of the ice fishing story?

 

• What does this movie reveal about the filmmakers' perception of human nature? How does that compare to your views?

 

• Do you agree with the statement that everyone is a con artist? Defend your answer.

 

--JW

 

Tags: American Hustle,David O Russle,Christian Bale,Bradley Cooper,Amy Adams,Jennifer Lawrence,Jeremy Renner,Irving Rosenfeld,Oscars,Academy Awards

 

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