American Hustle ★★★

For about the first half of this film I kept thinking: this is just a silly re-do of The Grifters; what's the big deal? Then something clicked for me and I got with the program. I think that's when I finally recognized Jennifer Lawrence behind the Juliette Lewis impersonation (I'm slow witted these days). Big plus: Louis C. K. finally gets a great underplayed movie role which represents his talents. Big minus: can Bradley Cooper really play farce without embarrassing himself? Bottom line, mostly great ensemble cast (is it a spoiler to mention that the uncredited Robert De Niro does his best work in decades here?). And a script which barely holds water. I just hope this isn't the third historically underwhelming flick in a row to win best picture Oscar.

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