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Joy  : Mopping Up The Killjoys
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Friday, January 22, 2016
David O Russell
Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez

Propelled by imagination and compassion, little Joy Mangano toys with inventive ideas like a collar that won’t hurt her pet dog. As her grandma observes, the little girl is amazingly patient and focused. 


But when Joy grows up, her life centres around cleaning up after a sloppy divorced mother obsessed with TV soaps. Ex-husband Tony lives in her basement and father Rudy turns up on her doorstep after his second woman has given him the boot. There’s a cynical half-sister too, and Joy has two kids of her own. It’s a full house.


Fortunately, Joy’s creativity rears its head when she invents a magical, self-wringing mop. And then begins the rigmarole of turning the idea into a business model with a long sequence to show how new products are sold through a TV show with celebrity hosts. Although based on the true life success story of Joy Mangano, a housewife who invented the super mop and made millions, there’s a fantasy-like feel all through.


Bradley Cooper as businessman Neil Walker comes in at the opportune time to place his faith in Joy and give her a vital second chance to sell her mop. He’s so impressed with her that he tells Joy, they are now “friends in commerce”, which is another way of saying, no romance, I guess. But soon writer-director David O Russell takes the usual route of naivete overriding common sense. Joy entrusts her father and his rich girlfriend, and her sardonic half-sister with important tasks like negotiating with a rival, registering the patent and sourcing a manufacturer and placing a huge order with him for producing the main part of the mop.  


Naturally, they muff it up. The creditors are at the door and her inept family takes the expected ‘We told you it won’t work’ stance. It’s only Tony, her former husband, who stays a friend till the end.


Joy cuts her hair, wears leather to show she now means business and goes out to mop up the mess created by her family. With the magic wand ambience persisting, Joy succeeds and sets up her own little empire. But she makes Neil Walker, the man who helped make it all happen, wait his turn outside her cabin door and then smugly tells him, “Now we’re adversaries in commerce”.  Like that’s her ultimate achievement.


But don’t forget, she’s a good girl. Therefore, Joy still indulges her family who continue to feel they’re entitled. That it’s all about family at the end is the main takeaway, never mind if Joy is far too virtuous to ring true. 


Jennifer Lawrence as Joy, Robert De Niro as her father and Bradley Cooper oozing charm, are the main magnets that compel you to keep watching the screen.


For a fairy-tale with a happy ending, Joy gets a 2.5* rating.  


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Journalist & Author



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