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I don’t subscribe to this belief that the characters I’m watching on-screen have to be likable. Some of the most compelling characters we’ve gotten over the years – Tony Soprano, Daniel Plainview, Walter White – have been among the most despicable. I don’t have to get all warm and fuzzy when characters like this take the screen… I just want them to be interesting. But when you eliminate that complexity and replace it with annoyance, creating characters that are both unlikable and grating, what you’re left with is a film that becomes unbearable to watch, something like David O. Russell’s latest, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

In this bizarre romantic comedy, Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a filter-free motormouth incapable of not saying inappropriate things on a regular basis. Remember Jack Nicholson in AS GOOD AS IT GETS…? Even he had more acceptable social skills, and he was an asshole. Granted, he was an asshole with a bit of a sickness, but at least he had an excuse. Pat believes he has some sort of excuse, too, having walked in on his wife having an affair to their wedding song. In the moment, he snaps, nearly beating her lover to death, resulting in some time away at a mental facility for eight months as part of his plea bargain. His clinical diagnosis is bipolar disorder, but that seems like a cop-out reason in this over-diagnosed society we live in to explain his ordinarily rude behavior. Russell must have thought Cooper’s natural charm might make this type of obnoxious character funny, and he couldn’t be more wrong. Pat’s motivations are to continue on with his positive life outlook in the hopes of getting back together with his wife who has since left, and he’ll spend nearly the entire movie going on and on about their great marriage and how much he loves her, even though he caught her fucking one of her fellow teachers in the shower to “My Cherie Amour” and then had to pay a severe penalty for his impulsively violent reaction to it. I’m not really sure where the silver lining can be found in that.

Oh, it must be that it then opened up the opportunity for him to cross paths with Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a young widow with her own problems, aside from the fact that Pat is quick to remind her that her husband is dead constantly to the point that even I started to get visibly irritated at not only his lack of tact but his obsession with making others uncomfortable. After all, the first one or two times might be considered an accident… once you get behind that, you just become a prick. However, for some reason that makes no sense to either the characters who seem to hate each other at one point or to me, they continue to defy both logic and reason in arranging to spend time together. Pat at least has some far-fetched reason, in that Tiffany is a way for him to get a letter to his now-departed wife, but this once again goes back to the ludicrous idea that trying to get back together with his wife, who has a restraining order against him, is an intelligent thing to do, and it’s hard to find any intrigue in a characters whose entire sense of being is one made up of stupidity and bad decisions.

In any event, Pat agrees to help Tiffany enter into some dance competition in exchange for delivering his letter, I kid you not, setting off an inevitable and understated chain of events that are supposed to be romantic in this twisted world, in which Pat ultimately needs to come to terms with his love life, deciding between the woman he thinks he loves and the one he doesn’t yet realize he has feelings for.  That puts the movie in the contrived quirkiness of two fucked-up individuals who really have no other choice but to try to help each other… and that’s not a good thing.


If there’s one part of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK that didn’t have me itching to leave the theatre as quickly as possible, it was Robert De Niro as Pat’s father, Pat Sr. The elder Pat lost his job and for some reason decided to become bookie, hoping to make money taking bets on his beloved Eagles. This father-son relationship is fascinating to me as we learn more about Pat the father. Let’s just say the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree, as reflected in why Pat Sr. isn’t making treks down to watch the Eagles in-person as big of a die-hard fan as he is. Then you factor in a blue-collar father doing the best he can for his son but not knowing how to really deal or react to a son growing up who may have had a different psychological makeup. Now that’s a movie I’m interested in seeing. Watching one scene between De Niro and Cooper where dad puts on the table that he feels as if he’s failed his son carries more emotion in it than the entire rest of this film which tries its hardest to be different while, in reality, not straying too far from the formula of a Katherine Heigl movie.

There are scenes that run on for far too long, desperately in need of an editor perhaps more than an Apatow production. There’s a dance sequence so poorly shot you wonder why Russell even chose to have a dance competition be a part of the climax. Outside of the periodic Chris Tucker appearances that give the film a little bit of life, there isn’t much silver lining to sitting through SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. This is a dysfunctional movie about dysfunctional characters that you can’t wait to get away from. Who really wants to spend a lot of time with that? 


-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:01 p.m. CST


    by The Bear


  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:04 p.m. CST

    I thought Chris Tucker was retired

    by The Bear

    And Robert DeNiro should retire, considering his choice of material for the past 20 years.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:09 p.m. CST

    This should be interesting...

    by Glenn

    Another movie reaping awards and praise... guess I'll have to see for myself, because though I despise much of Russell's personality, I loved The Fighter. He's capable of greatness, I think.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:12 p.m. CST


    by Bill C.

    Just from the basic plot synopsis this doesn't sound good, but the rest of it...this sounds like a flubbed play all around. (Of course, since the Kidd said he didn't like it, who's going to immediately say they DO like it? :} )

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:32 p.m. CST

    He's also starring in the fake Facebook page promoting Last Friday.

    by kindofabigdeal

    Starring every funny (or non funny) black comedian that ever lived that isn't Tyler Perry.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Yeah, this one is rough

    by mr.underwater

    Real rough

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Actually, Marky Mark may of been better

    by mr.underwater

    He has the whole "ernest" thing down. Cooper just comes off as an uber-prick that you begin to wonder why anyone would bother communicating with.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by mr.underwater

    I mean "earnest," not the guy who goes to camp/jail/etc

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 7:25 p.m. CST

    Nice tits.

    by adeceasedfan

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 7:26 p.m. CST

    88% positive on Rottentomatoes.

    by John Brennick

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 7:38 p.m. CST

    who doesn't love a scrappy underdog story?

    by Raptor Jesus

    Apparently the Kidd doesn't. But Jennifer Lawrence is so adorable. Ok, you win, I'll wait for Netflix. But still. Adorable.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 7:54 p.m. CST

    I saw this and...

    by Itchypanda

    I noticed the Kidd supplants his real feeling about how he wishes things were in his life from the actual movie content. Bradley Cooper's character is grating but once most of the audience realizes he's suffering from a debilitating social disorder, you begin to sympathize with him. Jennifer Lawrence is oozing sexuality and for good reason. Recently widowed and lost in the world, she finds comfort with sex. These two broken souls find each other during the near-lowest points of their lives and help pick each other up. Apparently, the Kidd couldn't sympathize with either character and he was like a parent forced to take their children to an animated movie and mentally prepared to hate all animated movies. Both actors ooze charisma and sometimes take you out of the movie because they start transcending their respective diseases but the movie was great. I'm assuming you're playing devil's advocate to everyone else. I get it. I have friends who like to argue, just to argue. I send them Christmas cards and talk to them once or twice a year.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 8:04 p.m. CST

    He is 38. She is 22.

    by GQTaste26

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 8:32 p.m. CST

    That's hot.

    by John Brennick

  • You're a clown Kidd.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 8:46 p.m. CST

    I thought it said SILVER LININGS PLAYBOY

    by Snookeroo

    Thought maybe there was a new magazine or something.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 9:04 p.m. CST

    I hope she goes the Hathaway route, and frees her knobs

    by kstewandthecuntsman

    Seriously, I wanna see them almost as much as I want to see KStews naked B cups. Okay. maybe a little more.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 9:35 p.m. CST

    Just got back from a screening.

    by paper

    The supporting cast is good, especially Chris Tucker and I liked seeing Beansie from The Sopranos. The dance training montage could have been cut down by a lot though.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Manic Pixie Dream Girl

    by Nasty In The Pasty


  • Nov. 15, 2012, 10:03 p.m. CST

    It's funny i wanna see this.

    by Norman Colson

    I can just imagine seeing your wife fucking someone else to your wedding song. would fracture any man's mind. as i feel it was right that he whipped the guys ass... So he has a bi-polar disorder... It's funny someone mentioned bradley cooper is 38 and jennifer lawrence is 22... But you forget he's bradley fucking cooper in real life, he can probably pull chicks like lawrence. im surprised he aint smashing that. i mean is it that hard to imagine she be attracted to a guy like him. The trailer looked really good. I dont see how kidd can nitpick a quirky movie about two dysfunctional people falling in love.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 10:14 p.m. CST

    So, the Mortal Instruments trailer came out.

    by TheMachinist

    Thought you all might like to know about that.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Ugh, the fucking dance training montage

    by mr.underwater

    WAS ENDLESS Seriously Actually this whole movie felt about twice as long than it it's actual running time.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    He is 38. She is 22

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    And yet you'd NEVER see a movie with a 38-year-old chick and a 22-year-old dude bumping uglies.

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 11:36 p.m. CST

    @nasty in the pasty, there's been others so your wrong.

    by Norman Colson

    Just looked it up on IMDB there's a movie called P.S. with laura linney... She's fucking topher grace in that one to be exact. Also stella got her groove back... Angela Basset and Taye Diggs

  • Nov. 15, 2012, 11:49 p.m. CST

    I stoped reading at *this over-diagnosed society we live in*.

    by ROBRAM89

    Go fuck yourself, whatever your real name is.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 12:10 a.m. CST

    LOL@go fuck yourself...

    by Norman Colson

    I think the kidd takes things in movies a bit too seriously.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Any film that involves the Eagles

    by rsdrum

    is doomed to suck. Any football fans here? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  • I think I've figured it out: The Kidd is secretly Armond White

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Silver Linings Playbook

    by Rana J

    I must strongly disagree. Have seen Silver Linings Playbook and found it to be engaging, thoughtful, emotionally powerful and well crafted. Awesome acting by Bradley Cooper - From personal experience, I found his portrayal of bipolar syndrome disturbingly accurate and emotionally powerful. Yes, his character is grating and draining, but this is true to how bipolar people can be. His character's moment of clarity later in the movie is all he better because of the comparative restraint in his behaviour as compared to how he behaves during his more manic moments. Jennifer Lawrence is luminous and portrays an emotional fragility which I found believable and emotionally engaging. As the narrative unfolds, her character's willingness to open herself up to help someone else evidences a compassion and willingness to risk herself which moves the viewer to empathy and sympathy for her character. Added to the two central performances is a wonderful turn by Robert de Niro and a sparkling script. So, in the spirit of the upcoming season - bah humbug to you, Billy the Kid, and strong encouragement to the AIC fanbase to go see this movie.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 1:20 a.m. CST


    by Bass Ackwards

    While you're right, there's still a difference because the movies you mentioned make a point of the age difference. This movie, like many May-December Hollywood flicks, seems to just ignore the age differe and act like a 38 year old and a 22 year old dating is totally par for the course (I'm making a presumption here, as I haven't seen the movie, but in the book the two characters are closer in age and experience, so that they changed the age of the character to cash in on the new hotness of Lawrence makes me suspect they didn't rewrite the role to acknowledge her youth).

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 2:30 a.m. CST

    The Book

    by jdsnotnice

    Is obviously better.

  • Like ... oh, yeah, THE FIGHTER. And this one might win Best Picture by default.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 4:57 a.m. CST

    His dad hopes to make a movie as a bookie? Huh?

    by DadTimesTwo

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 7:24 a.m. CST

    The Kidd hates another movie. Shocker.

    by mongo126

    Seriously, it's like reading the same review over and over. If I hated movies this much, I'd just watch Break videos all of the time and laugh at people hurting themselves.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 8:46 a.m. CST

    @ghost of chainsaw, re: older woman and younger men

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    The thing is, when it's an older woman/younger man pairing, that's ALL the movie is about, but when it's an older man/younger woman pairing, it's just taken as an obligitory perk. See how many actors well into their fifties and even sixties frequently get paired with hot young actresses in their twenties and early thirties, like a sixtysomething Robert De Niro having kinky bondage sex(!) with Carla Gugino in that awful Righteous Kill movie. It's one reason I greatly enjoyed the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown had a mid-40's Pierce Brosnan romantically paired with the also mid-40's Rene Russo, where as in his Bond films of the period, he was frequently cast opposite actresses at least a decade younger, if not more. Juts once I'd like to see a MILF-y actress in her forties cast opposite some hunky young man in his twenties, and call no special attention to the fact.

  • ...that's usually the plot of the movie. How SHOCKING is it that she, an alder woman, is banging HE, a younger man. It's not nearly as scrutinized when it's the other way around. THAT being said: I am thirty nine. I would spend large amounts of personal time with Jennifer Lawrence. Someone up top described her as "luminous" and I think that's dead on accurate. Good LORD, is she pretty.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I need the advice of the TB crowd

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    I've got a buddy, a real good buddy, kind of a best friend if we werent in our mid 30's. Now, this buddy has a live-in 25 year old girlfriend who is the spitting image of Jennifer Lawrence with the darker hair she has in this movie. I mean she looks exactly like her except my buddy's girl has bigger tits......seriously.....and she's shorter with a big ass that's about six months away from not being a big ass in a good way. Now, this could happen with my buddy's girl....she's made it pretty fucking clear that shes interested. There's only two problems: 1. Good Friend 2. I hate the bitch. She's just like nails on a chalkboard to me. But she's smoking fucking hot. Do I go for it?

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 1:40 p.m. CST


    by Norman Colson

    you can do better she'll try to turn it around on you. just you wait...

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Walk down, and fuck them all.

    by dahveed1972

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST


    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    I know, I know. She's smoking hot though. Scroll up and look at that picture of Jennifer Lawrence bulging out of the tank top. She looks just like that, I mean, they could be twins.

  • Nov. 16, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST


    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    You see, there is kind of a time limit on this though. Like I said, that ass is getting bigger by the day and a few months down the line, it's not gonna be pretty. The thighs are starting to go with the ass, too. I was just with them both forthe last three hours and if I'm gonna do it, now's the time. Ha ha. I know I won't end up doing it, he's my boy. In the immortal words of Johnny Depp a few days prior to getting fed to a bed, "Morality sucks."

  • Nov. 17, 2012, 5:06 p.m. CST

    They are MENTALLY ILL, you fucking cretin.

    by Robert Meeker

    Or do you not believe that bipolar disorder is a real diagnosis? I've known people with bipolar disorder. It is real. It is not something they can just "shake off" or "get over". It is a genuine mental illness. Here's a thought: if you have no sympathy for people who suffer from mental illness, perhaps you shouldn't watch films about the subject, and you certainly shouldn't review them. You could have actually learned something from watching this film, but instead you chose to wallow in your own ignorance. Lucky you.

  • Nov. 17, 2012, 11:37 p.m. CST

    What cinemapsycho said.

    by boyalien

    Seriously, Kidd, your reviews suck for a thousand reasons, but get what the above TBer said imprinted into your stupid fucking skull. My wife is bipolar. The characters aren't "annoying," they are FUCKING MENTALLY ILL. Jesus Christ, you are such a piece of shit. Just die.

  • Nov. 19, 2012, 4:55 a.m. CST

    I like David O Russels movies

    by jah_kingdom

    I didn't read too much of the review, because I'm trying to avoid spoilers. I'm kinda shocked the Kidd didn't like this. Did he say if he was a David O Russel fan? I love the Huckabees. And Flirting With Disaster is hilarious.

  • Nov. 20, 2012, 9:02 a.m. CST

    What makes Lawrence such a diva?

    by menacingphantom

    She wouldn't lose an ounce of weight to play a malnourished character in a movie called "The Hunger Games"? Not exactly DeNiro level commitment.