FOLLOWING eight months’ committal to a psychiatric institution for punching the guy he caught under the shower with his wife Nikki, bi-polar history teacher Pat (Bradley Cooper) gets released against medical advice into the care of his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) in the family home where father Pat Sr. (Robert de Niro), banned from entering a football stadium, runs a mail-order betting business to raise funds to start a restaurant.
Living a couple of blocks away, young widow Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) also knows about antidepressants. Her popping up alongside Pat while he is out running is when writer/director David Russell’s adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel puts up a sign pointing where the story intends to take us.
Pat’s obsession is to get back with Nikki, who has taken out a restraining order against him and to whom he wants Tiffany to carry a letter. Tiffany wants to enter a dance contest for which she enlists Pat as her partner. Pat Sr. and Dolores handle the bulk of the film’s implicit humour.
In a film of essential likeability derived from mildly uneasy origins, Cooper, Lawrence, de Niro and Weaver do good acting things with a screenplay that could have been tighter. What’s not to like? Learning the answer takes nearly two hours. Time well-enough spent with a gentle romantic comedy examining issues demanding but little mental energy.
At all cinemas