“American Hustle”: In Review

“American Hustle”

Release Date: Friday December 20, 2013

Run Time: 138 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and brief violence.

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence

Moviegoers who have been captivated by the previews and buzz surrounding today’s much anticipated release of “American Hustle” will undoubtedly flock to theaters this weekend to witness their favorite actor (just pick one, they’re pretty much all in this movie) behave badly.  With its star studded cast and long list of Golden Globe nominations, “American Hustle” sets itself up to be a big movie this season.  But does it live up to all the hype?

“American Hustle” follows the journey of Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale), a con man living in New Jersey, and his partner in crime Sydney Prosser (played by Amy Adams) as they take on their biggest con to date.  After inadvertently being caught by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (played by Bradley Cooper), Irving and Sydney find themselves in the middle of New Jersey’s most powerful criminals. As they navigate through their new found relationship with the FBI, we learn that when it comes to the world of organized crime…nobody is innocent.

It’s easy to go into a movie with such an incredible cast with heightened expectations but there’s also a level of risk associated with having so many dominant players on the same team. The good thing about “American Hustle” is that everyone played their respective roles well and not one person out-shined another.  For example, Robert De Niro’s character was relatively small.  His screen time was short compared to many of his other films but his presence never distracted from the roles of the other, more present, actors.

The biggest con for the audience is that the movie is mislabeled as a crime drama.  Does it have crime? Yes.  Is it dramatic? At times.  More than anything, it’s kind of funny.  The movie is unevenly paced, making it hard to call it a smashing success. The screenwriter took a good 40 minutes of the film to develop the back-story of the two lead characters (Christian Bale and Amy Adams).  By the time they finally get into the heart of the film, moviegoers have already started to lose interest.  Then it gets good again.  Then it gets boring.  Then it gets good.  See what I mean?  By the end of the movie, however, all will be forgiven as viewers begin to realize that all of those seemingly parts were actually pretty necessary in creating the film.

On my scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best, and 10 being the worst again I give “American Hustle” a 7.208 with an emoticon based sub ranking of “Hmmm”.

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