If only I’d read up on American Hustle before booking tickets to see it. I might have realised that the director (David O. Russell) was responsible for I Heart Huckabees, which is one of my least favourite films of all time. I was already going out on a limb by actually choosing to see a film starring Bradley “I think I’m so hot even though I have an unusually big face” Cooper. And if I’m totally honest Amy Adams isn’t exactly my favourite actress. I’m not saying she’s not good, she’s just so insipid.
I was curious, though. It won three Golden Globes and has been nominated for ten (count ’em!) ten Oscars, including the big ones – best picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress. The critic reviews on metacritic.com are almost universally glowing and the punters have even given it 7.8 out of 10, which is pretty high by IMDB standards.
Now, after spending 138 minutes in the cinema, I can honestly say I have no idea what all the fuss is about.
The story, such as it is, is wafer thin. Christian Bale and Amy Adams (I honestly can’t even remember the character names) are a pair of con artists who get caught out by Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent, and are then coerced into helping him bring down a bunch of politicians and mobsters. I can’t really say too much more about what happened because a) I kind of lost interest pretty early on and b) I don’t think there’s actually much more to say.
Perhaps the story was somewhat overshadowed by the costumes. The wigs! Oh, the wigs! The hair styles sported by Bale, Cooper and Jeremy Renner should be up for their own Oscars. I think they were also trying to make a statement by having Adams flash her cleavage throughout, but because she’s as thin as a rail it’s kind of a fruitless exercise. I get that in the 70s that was a “look” but I’m not convinced that too many women wore navel-flashing necklines on a daily basis.
While some parts of most performances were perfectly good (Jeremy Renner was mis-cast and wasted as the Mayor) and Jennifer Lawrence was strong throughout, I really can’t fathom the rave reviews or the award nominations. I also can’t help but think that if the timing was different, everyone would’ve completely forgotten about American Hustle before we’d got anywhere near award season.
It’s way too long, it lacks pace, the ‘comedy’ just isn’t that funny, the drama isn’t sufficiently dramatic and I just couldn’t give a toss about any of the characters. Good soundtrack, though.