The romantic comedy. I involuntarily cringe at the thought of it when Chrissy begins marketing one to me. “But you made me go see that violent movie with all of the cursing”, she reasons. Being that phenomenal (toot) husband that I am, I agree. I even go as far as labeling it a “date night”. Because she likes that. And I like what she likes.
But back to the romantic comedy. As general rule, it sucks. It’s overlong, boring, predictable, and mostly preposterous. Just watch any episode of Grey’s Anatomy or the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, and you’ll see my point. I always say that I’m done with the entire genre, usually in some cartoony fit of feigned rage. But then she gives me that one look, and I’m running to the popcorn line.
Enter Silver Linings Playbook, the Oscar-buzzed film from David O. Russell and starring local favorite, Bradley Cooper (he grew up maybe 10 minutes from my childhood home). Sure, I suppose it falls in the aforementioned and frowned-upon category, but I can’t help but look at it in a completely different light. After all, it is a truly fantastic film.
But how could have this have happened? A ‘romantic comedy’ that I love? One that evokes true emotion? The film certainly does have its ‘chick flick’ moments. Some cheap laughs. A few cheesy exchanges that leave you shaking your head and maybe even feeling a little embarrassed for the characters on screen. But there’s more to the standard recipe here. I tweeted, upon leaving the movie theater, that it was ‘romantic comedy redefined’. And it is.
So what’s different here? The snappy writing by David O. Russell. The terrific chemistry between Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. The fantastic performances. Lots. But above all, it’s what is at the heart of the story. It’s a beautiful ballad about two really fucked-up people (just like you and me) who are battling through the everyday struggle of simply finding happiness. A journey that is never easy, regularly misleading, and surely unexpected. Luckily, for us, they happen to find that stroke of happiness (that silver lining) in each other. And it’s a blast that’s incredibly good for your soul.
Don’t get me wrong; I still dislike the genre, and Chrissy will still receive the standard kicking and screaming when she drags me to the next one. “But I loved Silver Linings Playbook, honey”, I’ll say. And so I have a new card to play.