I try to keep things fairly topical in my writings on this site. As such, I will be doing a review of the critically acclaimed Hollywood film Silver Linings Playbook from the year 2012. Next week I’ll be doing a review of the iPhone 3. Be sure to keep an eye out for that.
I made it a point to finally watch this movie merely because of the rave reviews it was getting and all the press that what’s-her-name who co-stars in the movie was getting. I knew nothing about the movie other than that it starred Bradley Cooper and what’s-her-name and that it obviously had something to do with football.
After watching it, I realized that this movie is basically a chick flick with a football subplot thrown in to cater to the men. This movie was written to be the type of chick flick that a woman could drag her boyfriend to under the pretense that it wouldn’t be a chick flick. The problem is that it is very much indeed a chick flick. Let me explain with a paragraph containing more than 3 sentences for once in this post.
The basic gist of the movie is that a hunky dreamboat of a guy (Bradley Cooper), with a troubled, violent past, is in the process of getting his life together and becoming a better person. Chick flick count = 1. He meets a self-centered, unreasonable, childish, emotionally unstable gal (what’s-her-name), who is single because her boyfriend died as opposed to leaving her, which would have been more realistic. Chick flick count = 2. The dude agrees to practice dancing with the girl for a contest she wants to enter, in exchange for her helping him with something largely inconsequential involving his ex-wife. Chick flick count = 9. They attend the dance contest and get a high enough score to win some bet that ties the movie up nicely into a happy ending with a bow on top. Chick flick count = 37. The gal storms off emotionally when the guy talks to his ex-wife after the contest instead of making her the center of attention. Chick flick count = 7,815. The guy rushes to catch the girl and proclaim his undying love for her before she completely pouts away from the scene. Chick flick count = 9.18e23. The End.
Sounds like a chick flick right? But what about all that football stuff the movie led you to believe would actually play a role in it somehow. “Playbook” is in the title, and there are football play diagrams on the DVD cover and promotional posters after all. Well see… here’s the thing. That was just a ploy to get dudes into the theater to see a chick flick. The main character and his dad are merely fans of the Eagles, whom the dad bets on throughout the movie. The main character even attends an Eagles game at one point in the movie as a plot point to reinforce the violent, irresponsible character traits he is supposed to have after he gets into a fight at the event.
The problem here is that the sports angle could have been completely replaced with something else and the movie would have played out the same. The father and son could have bonded over a love of hunting or watching reruns of Charles in Charge. It’s just like The Big Lebowski in that regard. That movie was about a rug and mistaken identity, and had almost nothing to do with bowling, despite largely being marketed as a bowling comedy. I can write another article about how overrated that movie is some other time, but back to Silver Lining Chick Flick for the time being.
The point is that the plot of this movie can be summed up in 4 or 5 sentences (see paragraph 4), due to the fact that it’s a fairly simple formulaic chick flick. Matthew McConaughey could have starred in this movie, it could have been written by Jane Austen and it wouldn’t have been any more of a chick flick than it already is. The inconsequential football side plots do nothing to change this fact. Silver Linings Playbook is a color-by-numbers chick flick that somehow earned 8 Academy Award nominations, 4 Oscar nods, and 4 Golden Globe nominations. Seriously. It didn’t even have terrible British accents and colonial people wardrobe.
So… uh… I guess I’d rate this movie an 8 out of a possible -2.