American Huh? Still Going?
I was trying to come up with a gimmick to write about American Hustle where I could completely avoid writing about it because I don’t get it. I mean I get it, it’s a film, whatever, but I don’t get it. Outside the A-list cast and funky fun styling, the bloated and misguided story runs for far too long. I’m not saying that I hated the film, I don’t think it’s a film that would be easy to hate, and it isn’t inherently bad. I’m just saying absolutely nothing in the film resonated with me and I don’t understand how someone can leave thinking that it was a good film? I don’t really get it.
The film stars Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, a conman. Irving, along with his saucy mistress Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), is forced to work alongside FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) in order to expose fraud and corruption within Jersey politicians. That’s such a basic summary. There’s also Jennifer Lawrence who plays Irving’s wife Rosalyn, there’s nice-guy/nice-hair-guy Jeremy Renner as Mayor Carmine Polito, there’s Louis C.K., there’s five minutes of Robert Deniro exhaling through his nose. Such a giant cast, so many things going on so it’s no surprise that the film goes for 140 minutes.
But why does this film go for 140 minutes? Because it really shouldn’t. There’s no real extraordinary character development, there aren’t very memorable scenes, so what’s actually happening for the duration of the film? Mainly, it’s just Amy Adams changing into every possible outfit that existed to show her boobs without showing her boobs.
I can see why someone might like this film. It’s flashy; the 70s aesthetic is done incredibly well, a few of the actors have scenes where they are very actor-y and act a lot (acting!), and the cast all look great and funny with their wigs and potbellies (so great and funny!). But outside of that, the film feels directionless, messy and empty and I feel like that’s why I just wanted it to end. And when it DID end – I hated how it ended but I was so happy it had. Guys it was such a long film.
Christian Bale has very kind eyes, until you remember he’d probably shout at your mom in a restaurant. Bradley Cooper dances from his hips and I am very attracted to him even with a perm. Amy Adams is great in this. She looks great and she does a pretty great job with a pretty average character (TRIGGER WARNING: she’s doing a bad accent on purpose, so if you hate bad accents you will probably not cope). And of course, Jennifer Lawrence steals the show – but it seems like Director and co-writer David O Russell crafted the character of Rosalyn in order to suit Lawence’s incredibly charming, and accessible sense of humor. But her brief stint as the comic relief in the film is too few and far between to ultimately pull it out of the slog of its own GIGANTIC plot.
I guess you could claim that the film is a commentary on authenticity (the clever wink of the opening card: ‘Some of this actually happened’), you’re forever wondering how much of the tale is actually true. The skeleton is, sure, and had they stuck to that story it actually may have succeeded in being a fine con/heist/sting film. The addition of the unpredictable and volatile DiMaso, and two clashing love-triangles, plus plus plus all the other added elements makes the film unwieldy and unnecessarily complex. Ugh guys. There’s just so much going on it’ll cross your eyes (and when Cooper does his sexy 70s dancing it’ll uncross your legs haaay).
Similarly to August: Osage County, watching American Hustle I hated it. I hated watching it. But I only mildly dislike the film. As I said, it’s a hard film to hate because it’s not bad – it just doesn’t achieve much. Of anything.
Not so much American Hustle as it is American Bustle (because so much cleavage), and I just don’t get all the American Fuss-le.
See it. I would LOVE for you to tell me why you like it.