Lawrence shines in joyless ‘Joy’


The cheerfully titled “Joy” cleverly wrings out any happy feelings from the daring success story of Joy Mangano—inventor of the Miracle Mop.

Director David O. Russell features his favorite leading lady Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle” –also Russell films) in this inspiring tale of a woman who faced undeniably bleak odds only to come out on top, creating her own business empire.

The story starts Mangano as she comes to grips with the downward spiral her life took. She is taking care of her soap-opera-obsessed mother, two children and her suave, but washed up, Venezuelan ex-husband living in her basement.

A lifelong passion for inventing leads her to take charge of her chaotic life and create a self-wringing mop with a detachable head fit for a washing machine.

While this masterful mop may sound like an obvious necessity to any housewife/hubby looking to suck up spills in a jiff, Mangano quickly discovers selling a new product is a tangled mess of patents and lawyers in and of itself.

Strong-willed and intelligent, Mangano catches a lucky break from TV producer Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper, the third point on the Russell-Lawrence triangle of magnificence).

But as all things seem to be in Joy’s joyless world, this break is short-lived.

Not only is the feminine mogul held back externally, but within her own family as her jealous sister and clueless father (Robert De Niro) pull her back even further.

Despite an unexpectedly unenthusiastic response from critics, I think “Joy” is pitch-perfect and powerful. The film has a whimsically raw method of delivering the truth behind reality, as only Russell can whip up.

Critics are harking “The Revenant” as the most stress inducing film of 2016, but I would heartily argue that nothing was more fist-clenching than watching Mangano take hit after increasing hit with power and grace.

With an Oscar-worthy performance by Lawrence as its anchor, “Joy” grabs for the gut and left me feeling like I did not try nearly hard enough to patent that bowl of Corn Pop soup I invented in sixth grade.