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Film & DVD

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook proves that high-quality, mainstream entertainment for grown-ups has not yet perished

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Chris Tucker returns from self-imposed exile for a rare appearance outside of the Rush Hour franchise, and he perfectly modulates his hyperactive shtick to play Pat's perennially escaping asylum buddy. Robert De Niro, having lapsed into a lazy sketch-comedy parody of himself for the last dozen or so years, does some of the best work he's done in ages, and it's a blast to see him enjoying the material for a change. The movie, however, belongs to Lawrence, whose yummy cupcake voluptuousness is nearly unbearable. She is fierce, funny, wounded and wholly irresistible. Hers is an absolute knockout performance -- one that reassures us that her career will endure long past her teen queen Hunger Games phase.

I can already hear the grumbling of certain high-minded grouches that may dismiss Silver Linings as mere entertainment, claiming that beneath a layer of self-conscious hipness it is beholden to the same tired boy-meets-girl formula of a Reese Witherspoon time-killer. Sure, it is a well-used template of genre conventions, but the delivery of those ideas, through the performances, the camera work, and the delightful script, make those old beats seem fresh as a spring breeze. While most movies try to impart a moral, the best of them can discreetly point us toward a better path for our own lives – and just maybe they can inspire us to squeeze every drop of joy we can out of this fucked-up world. There can be no ending happier than that.

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