By on February 15, 2017

Joy is a drama based on the real-life Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), inventor of the Miracle Mop. There are lots of highs and lows in her story — including a dysfunctional family, financial insecurity, and a deep desire to fulfill dreams deferred — which makes it a better fit for older viewers. But Joy is an inspiring person, and the content itself isn’t too edgy; there’s some swearing arguing, drinking (usually socially), kissing, and innuendo — and, of course, a heavy emphasis on the best-selling Miracle Mop product. A dream sequence includes a kidnapping.

Director David O. Russell’s signature kinetic charm is at play here, but JOY falls short of greatness. Lawrence delivers a brilliant performance, backed by an unimpeachable cast that includes Robert De Niro as Mangano’s father, Isabelle Rossilini as his girlfriend, and Bradley Cooper as a QVC genius.

But the meandering, over-long script is all over the place, and Russell’s jazzy genius — which lofted previous films — feels a bit like a shortcut here. The movie never quite finds its center. Still, Joy’s rags-to-riches — with a load of obstacles in turn — is inarguably inspiring.  Age 14 + Out Feb 22

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