Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker and Anupam Kher
b! Says: ***
'Silver Linings Playbook' is a crowd pleaser that fills you with the kind of emotion you experience when you watch puppies play. Its leads share incredible chemistry, it's funny in parts (thanks to Robert De Niro) and even though there are more than a few unremarkable bits and pieces threatening to bring it all down, this film sails through.
Pat (Bradley Cooper), who suffers from bipolar disorder, returns home to live with his parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver) after spending months in a mental health clinic. He's determined to turn around his life (find a silver lining, a happy ending) and win back his estranged wife Nikki, who's steered clear of him after Pat walked in on her cheating on him. Pat meets his friend's sister-in-law Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who's dealing with the death of her husband. She agrees to help Pat deliver a letter to Nikki in exchange for agreeing to be her partner in a local dance competition. Consequently, Pat finds himself torn between his commitment to Tiffany and his superstitious father's insistence that Pat watches Philadelphia Eagles games to ensure the team's winning streak.
Cooper does a great job at playing the neurotic optimist, but it is Jennifer Lawrence who steals the show. She's outstanding as the sexually frustrated widow who's looking to find some meaning, ANY meaning to her life. Together, Cooper and Lawrence put the 'aww' in awkward and a delight to watch. Their final performance is goofy and endearing and that, along with their rehearsals, are some of the film's best bits. Robert De Niro is also good as Pat's football-crazy dad but we fail to understand just what was remarkable about Jacki Weaver's role as the 10-seconds-away-from-a-meltdown mother. In comparison, Anupam Kher as Pat's psychiatrist is far more memorable, but we wouldn't go so far as to call it Mr Kher's Hollywood breakout role.
Watch 'Silver Linings Playbook' without expectations of being blown away and you'll be satisfied by this sweet, though slightly underwhelming, film.