Get Conned Into Loving ‘American Hustle’ (Movie Review)

American HustleI remember the first time I saw Bradley Cooper on the hit ABC television show Alias opposite Jennifer Garner circa 2001 I proclaimed out loud that this cat is going to be a big star.  My ex at the time scoffed at me and said whatever.  She never believed in me.  Therefore, that’s why she’s an ex.  LOL.  But seriously, was I right or was I right?  He’s gone on to be such a huge star in highly successful films as The Hangover series, the immaculate conception known as Silver Linings Playbook and now everyone’s favorite foul mouthed raccoon in next year’s Guardian of the Galaxy.  However, I digress about my love for Bradley Cooper.  I’ll admit that I got a little off the subject of why we are gathered here today.  But I can’t help it!  I want to scream it from the tallest trees.  My boy Bradley Cooper is a new movie and best of all, he’s sporting tight curls in this 70’s retro feature.  Of course I’m talking about Columbia Pictures’ American Hustle, once upon a time known as American Bullsh1t (that little factoid makes me love the flick without even seeing it).  Now you want to know more, right?!  Great!  I have an itch I want to scratch.  Let’s get talking!

First and foremost, besides the retro feel, look and setting to the story, the first thing that had me at hey now was the all-star cast lineup.  Let’s take a closer look at that for a moment.  You all know who Amy Adams is.  She was in a little flick this summer called Man of Steel.  I don’t know.  Maybe some of you might of heard about it?  Then there’s the Dark Knight, Mr. Christian Bale, complete with a combover.  You gotta love it!  And if the man of the hour, Bradley Cooper, is not enough for you, then guess what?!  There are more heavy hitters!  The lineup of all-stars also includes Jeremy Renner minus the arrows, Brad’s Silver Linings Playbook co-star Jennifer Lawrence minus the hunger (alright I’ll drop the minus jokes), Louis C.K., Michael Pena, Jack Huston and maybe even a surprise cameo if you’re lucky.  Can you say whaaat with me?  How do you like that lineup now?!  This film is looking like it can be pretty rad, huh?  Well, let’s keep that positive vibe and momentum going and talk about American Hustle in more depth and then we can formulate an opinion.  Sound like a plan to you?

So other than my apparent love for Bradley Cooper, I mentioned Silver Linings Playbook up above for a couple of reasons.  In addition to Cooper being in a film so soon together again with Lawrence the director of the aforementioned  film, David O. Russell, also tackles this crime comedy-drama.  The screenplay was written by Eric Warren Singer and is loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s.  It actually was on the Black List back in 2010 and has finally seen the light of day.  Lucky ones in LA and New York were able to catch this one last week, but for the majority of us, American Hustle will see a nationwide release today, December 20th.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

American Hustle 1

First off, let me start by saying I LOVED this film.  It’s going to finish high on my Top 10 list this year.  You can take that to the bank.  Not since Ford brought back the classic look of the Mustang back in 2005 has anything been this retro, stylish and sexy in my opinion.  From the late 70’s infused soundtrack to the most hair curlers I have ever seen, the retro look is captured in all its exaggerated glory here.  And best of all, the lovable cast seals the deal with the disco environment they interact and live in.  So let’s talk about what American Hustle is all about first and then we’ll take a closer look at this exceptional cast in more detail.  Deal?

American Hustle introduces us to a con man, Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), whom much like Depp’s character in the legendary film Blow, refuses to grow up broke like his old man.  After a hilarious opening combover scene, we relive how he first meets his lover, Sydney Prosser (the eye-popping, wide open chest of Amy Adams), and partners up with her in his lucrative world of bad loans, fake art, laundry mats, glass sales and whatnot.  After Sydney meets the wrong guy to con, Richie DiMaso (Cooper), Irving and her find themselves recruited so to speak and forced to work for the FBI.  Their mission is simple and straightforward.  They are to help the FBI make four busts and then they are off the hook.  Sounds like a great deal, huh?  But what happens when the FBI gets greedy and wants to not only take down some senators and congressmen, but also big time mobsters?  And what happens when you become friends with the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Carmine Polito (Renner), a man you are coincidentally hustling for the FBI sting?  Do you tell him the truth and risk it all?  And oh yeah…Irving is also married to Rosalyn (Lawrence)!  Didn’t I just say Sydney was his lover up above?  Oh my!  You see all the conundrums here?  And tell me what happens when Richie also falls for Sydney?  Who does she choose?  The married man with a huge gut and combover or the man with the tightly curled hair?  Decisions, decisions.  American Hustle tells the tale of doing what’s right in life and reinventing yourself.  Is it ever too late?  Nah!  But just who is conning who?  That’s the question here!

American Hustle Cast

Alright, let’s get down to business and talk about this all-star cast.  Look how great they all look up above?  Okay, maybe not Bale so much, but he fits the role.  Who else could easily gain 40 pounds on purpose for a role, the human plastic man, Christian Bale, that’s who!  Weight fluctuations for him is clearly no big deal.  But how about that combover?  Oh yeah!  After awhile you kind of get used to it, but when we first meet Irving, we live the pain he goes through each and every morning to get ready (covering up the bald spots) and it’s honesty probably more trouble than any woman goes through (okay…most women).  Let’s face it…old age sucks!  And how about Amy Adam’s rack?  Guys will never get tired of this picture.  This film is like a two-hour trip to Hooters.  You’ll see what I mean when you check it out.   Get it?  Check it out!  And this is all fine and dandy.  Yes, the actors all look the part and are authentic, but it’s their chemistry that sets this film apart from others.  These guys are not only having a good time, but their onscreen chemistry, dynamics and relationships all sizzle.  We all know Cooper and Lawrence can act against each other, but it’s amazing to see how Lawrence handles herself against Bale as his wife in the flick.  She has come a long way since I first saw her in the Hunger Games.  She’s not that same little girl she was only a couple years ago.  She’s Batman’s wife!  And she’s a crazy beeotch!  Picture her character from Silver Linings Playbook, but 100 times crazier!  There you go!  I may be exaggerating a little, but I’m allowed to.  It’s my review.  The rest of the cast is equally exceptional from Louis C.K. as Richie’s boss, who literally takes all the punches, to Renner’s likable portrayal of a New Jersey Mayor.  The film succeeds in actually making you feel sorry for him.  You just want to scream like they do in Return of the Jedi…it’s a trap!

So as far as the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards go, I can certainly understand all the buzz this film has garnered with 13 nominations including Best Picture, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Actor for Bale, Best Supporting Actor for Cooper, Best Supporting Actress for Lawrence and Best Director for Russell.  Where’s the Best Hooters Award?  I’m kidding.  Although, Amy Adams would be a very strong frontrunner for that one!.  It will also be very interesting to see what happens in next years Academy Awards showdown as well.  I have not seen 12 Years A Slave as of yet (hope to this weekend), but I feel this one has a chance as a very strong contender (since I don’t believe Oblivion will make the cut…LOL).  However, only time will tell and instead of wasting our time on future events that may or may not ever happen, we should all be celebrating the release of American Hustle this holiday season and figuring out how to con all your loved ones into checking it out with you.  After all, no one likes to go to a movie alone.  Do they?  Check it out folks!  This one meets my approval!  Am I a con artist for selling you on this feature?  I guess you’ll never know.  That’s the beauty of this art form!

American Hustle Poster


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