Joy is director David O Russell’s third consecutive collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. However, the spark of their earlier collaborations like Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle is amiss here. Though, Russell accomplished to spark moments of heart-rending emotions at some instances, but the end result is a complete mess.

The movie opens up with a pompous message saying, “Inspired by the true stories of daring women. One in particular.” Well, this makes up an interesting case for making a Film, which is clearly a larger tribute to women entrepreneurs.

And, this is where the problem lies. While making his film a universal case for female visionaries, Russell loses his track and miserably fails to glorify the real hero Joy Mangano.

Lawrence, as Joy, struggles to maintain her calm and composure, while struggling to be a good mother and a proud daughter at the same time. She lives with her mother Terry (Virginia Madsen), grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd), ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez), father Rudy (Robert De Niro) and two children. As evidenced, Mimi is the only one who reminds Joy of her creative abilities every now and then, which only leads to Joy inventing a new mop after having moppedred wine on a boat that belonged to her dad’s new girlfriend Trudy (Rossellini).

The film unspools with a voiceover by Joy’s grandmother to introduce the characters including Joy’s soap opera addicted mother, husband, children, father, stepsister and best friend. Russell is indeed a brilliant writer and a wonderful creator of characters, but in this flick he fails to do so. Every character that appears in the film is written as a service to Joy only.

This is the main reason why the movie seriously fails to hold the level of excitement.

It is evident that Russell and his co-screenwriter Annie Mumolo don’t plan to get to the point straight away. They rather twist and entangle the plot with weird dreaminess, bizarre dizziness and crooked craziness to create a mess that’s easy to understand, but difficult to digest.

It’s a very interesting situation for audiences to feel inspired by a young entrepreneurial underdog. Yet the weirdness of this film sometimes makes it an entertaining watch, and at other instances a disconcerting torture.

The performances are mediocre, very mediocre. Bradley Cooper’s performance is, frankly, pretty dull. It’s clearly not Cooper’s fault, but a flavourless script is to be blamed for such an abysmal act by a wonderful actor. Edgar Ramirez, as Tony, tries to emote well to show his concern for Joy at various points in the film. On the other hand, Robert De Niro has precious little to do in a role that he can perform with eyes closed.

It is Lawrence’s dauntingly confident performance that stands out of the rest.

Joy is a brilliantly written character, and the only one. She has some top-notch sequences with her father that reaffirms her stature as one of the best. Watch out for the sequence, when Joy storms out of her dad’s garage and then relieves her pain by some pump-action at the shooting range. The moment when Joy signs the bankruptcy documents and breaks out in front of her daughter and tears the designs of the magic mop will sweep you off your feet.

Overall, Joy leaves you with an eternal sense of disappointment, thinking that the idea could’ve portrayed a lot more than it did. You will feel that Russell owes you something even after leaving the theatre, but that’s a lot to expect from him.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆