I think we can all agree (at least, we ladies can all agree) that we'd watch a film consisting entirely of Bradley Cooper eating sunflower seeds for two hours as long as he occasionally gazed into the camera with those sky-blue eyes of his. Likewise, I think that most of us would agree that Jennifer Lawrence could read the ingredients list on the side of a granola box, and there we'd be, enraptured, screaming for an encore. Except it'd more likely be the ingredients list on a bag of Doritos, which is one of perhaps nine thousands reasons why we all want her for our best friend.
As such, I was completely devastated that I didn't love this movie. I was prepared to inhale it, hang on every syllable, and find myself so addicted that I wanted to watch it again immediately. That is not at all what happened. I left feeling a little bit confused, a little bit disconnected, and a lot let down.
I can't really pinpoint what went wrong. The cast list is impressive (except that I will admit that for as much as I loved Amy Adams in Junebug, I hated her at least twice that much in both The Master and Doubt, and for reasons wholly unrelated to the characters she was playing). The costumes are hilarious. Hair and makeup must have loved coming to work every day. And the premise was good, not the least reason for which is the whole based-on-a-true story hype that worked so well last year for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty.
Part of the issue, I think, is that where Argo and Zero Dark Thirty were perceived as accurate yet entertaining, docudrama-esque retellings of pivotal American events, American Hustle just feels kitschy...like a cheap and flowery retelling of a story without a hero. There's no one to cheer for in this film, and coming from a girl who prosecutes crime for a living, when you can't root for the cops, there's a problem. And if you can't root for the cops, you should at least be able to root against them (The Town, Training Day, The Departed).
I didn't love it. It's not Best Picture material. I don't know what else to say.