American HustleReleased on December 13, 2013 1 comment
It’s time for the Hollywood Elite to take a very large moment and stop trying to sell us on the silly notion that David O. Russell is a 21st Century Billy Wilder.
Russell has nowhere near that kind of talent, and “American Hustle,” his latest mirage, simply isn’t that good.
If you want to watch the followers swoon (seasoned movie reviewers,) then dress up some current stars in bad 70’s clothes and perms, in Christian Bale’s case a ludicrous comb-over, and unleash them on the viewing public with a sub-par script and tepid jokes. Works every time. “Boogie Nights” and “Blow,” come to mind, and Hustle isn’t anywhere near as entertaining as those were.
Unfortunately Hustle, like all Russell efforts, is nothing but sight gags and over-wrought diolague, ending with an anti-climactic and sometimes tear-jerking scene that never seems to pay off. Despite what the Academy would have us believe, “Silver Linings Playbook,” was a lugubrious mess, and not even a pretty one at that. Only the Philly Eagles hero worship rang somewhat true, and even that mostly missed the mark.
Hustle is supposedly based on the Mahogany-era Abscam scandal, when FBI agents posed as Middle Eastern money men and bribed various members of Congress. Enter Bradley Cooper, Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner, a big name cast with nowhere to go. The whole 70’s hook loses luster after 20 minutes, and that is being kind.
We’re not surprised. This is the so-called Director who’s given us other overrated fare like “The Fighter,” as well as pungent festering garbage like “I Heart Huckabees.”
For someone who thrives on ass-kissing praise, Russell owes us much more than he’s given so far. Whether he’s capable of delivering is the question of the moment.