JOY Review — The Mop is a Flop

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Joy ReviesWhen people hear that Joy is based on the true story of the woman who invented the Miracle Mop, they inevitably ask, “How can they make an interesting movie about that?”  Apparently they can’t. Even the great David O. Russell and the infinitely talented Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro can’t make the film gel into something that’s very entertaining…or even memorable.

It’s really a shame, too, because Joy Mangano, the real life inventor, has an excellent story of a quirky triumph over adversity, and deserves better. What she got was a loose and lazy biopic that feels like it was conceived, written and shot in a few short weeks, breezing along on the conceit that the team that brought you Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle can do no wrong.

Massive omissions in the logic of the script give the fine actors little to work with. Jennifer Lawrence has been directed to toss off cliched lines in a monotone, (see trailer below). I half expected at any minute to see a close up of her shrugging and goggling at the camera, while a muted trumpet plays “wah wah” in the background. “Oh those crazy kids!” At times Joy felt like an unfunny Saturday Night Live sketch.

And then there’s the fact that the character narrating the film dies two thirds of the way through, then continues to narrate posthumously. This is not a spoiler, because there’s not much emotional or dramatic investment in the event. It’s sort of thrown off as “And then I died, so anyway…” If the writers (David O. Russell and Annie Mumolo) feel they absolutely cannot tell the story without a narrator, how about picking one that doesn’t die off in the middle? Why risk audiences wondering, “what, is this narration supposed to be coming from heaven? ” for the duration of the film?

I know it’s not politically correct to criticize a film about a strong, accomplished woman, or to say anything bad about America’s sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence, at the moment. But it seems that she and everyone else in the film, deserved a better script and a better movie all around. This is what happens when you rest too heavily on your laurels.

Rated PG-13

2 Hours

Get times and tickets at

JOY Review — The Mop is a Flop


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. Filmexpert on February 22, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Definitly not a flop, great story, great acting, great movie! Loved every second of it… twice…

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