American Hustle

First we see: "Some of this really happened." And it's true. This chaotic R-rated mess was inspired by the late 70s Abscam mess which involved the FBI, the Mafia, a Middle Eastern Sheik and many elected officials. I never got it straight when it was happening and I scarcely did much better today.

Nominated for seven (7!) Golden Globes: Best Picture - Comedy or Musical; Best Actor and Actress; Best Supporting Actor and Actress; Best Director and Best Screenplay; I would suggest they also include Best Hair. In my opinion this one is head and shoulders above many other high-profile films because it's so much fun! Director David O. Russell ("The Fighter") keeps things humming along and draws extremely natural performances from his cast.

We enjoyed:
  • Christian Bale ("The Dark Knight") as Irving (the names have been changed to protect the innocent), a two-bit flim-flam man lured into an entrapment scheme by an ambitious FBI agent. This time Bale is a stooped, paunchy, married schlub with the most tortured toupee and cockamamie comb-over I have ever seen.
  • Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") is his wife Rosalyn, who knows Irving has a mistress but can't see why that should have any effect on their marriage. He has adopted her son and doesn't want to lose him. Her hairdo is a stylist's combo of "Big Hair" and "Outrageous Hair." She HATES that new-fangled "science oven" (microwave) because she ignored the warning and tried to heat a foil container. Eek!
  • Amy Adams ("Her") is Sidney, Irving's partner in crime, both in and out of bed. Sometimes she's British, sometimes she's from Albuquerque. We see a LOT of Sidney in this one (double-sided tape prevents many wardrobe malfunctions)! She spends a lot of time with her hair in huge rollers.
  • Bradley Cooper ("The Hangover") is Richie, the manic FBI man. He moves the outlandish plot forward by sheer force of will and is unforgettable with his hair in those teeny permanent wave rollers. Cooper and Adams generate some real sexual heat in this one. Whew!
  • Michael Peña ("End of Watch") is Paco, a Hispanic from California recruited to play the Sheik. His hair is covered by a pseudo white cloth with a black band to make him look Middle Eastern.
  • Jeremy Renner ("The Town") is the Mayor. He is the only (sorta) "Good Guy" in the bunch, with a glamorous wife and five children, all of whom he adores. Check out his heroic pompadour!
ALL of the fashions, men's and women's are to die for. Sometimes I lost track of the story, I was so taken by the clothes!

...and the music! Kudos to Susan Jacobs for assembling the wonderful sound track: Everything from Duke Ellington and Steely Dan to "Yellow Brick Road" and "Live and Let Die." Loved it!
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Take a peek:
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