Knee-jerk review: "Silver Linings Playbook"

1. Bradley Cooper is the real deal.  A movie star with legitimate chops.
2. We can only guess how hard it must have been to strike the right tonal balance with this material.  Funny in places, sad in others, romantic in others.  Football tailgating side by side with a dance competition and therapy sessions.  What a hard movie to categorize.  Or explain.
3. Weird title.  Probably working against it.
4. Three Kings is still our favorite David O. Russell movie.  But this is a close second.  Not as grim and humorless as The Fighter.
5. The next time we're in a diner with Jennifer Lawrence, we're ordering raisin bran.  Genius.
6. When was the last time Robert DeNiro had this kind of meaty dramatic role?  Seems like lately he's doing the "DeNiro spoof" thing where he's mostly playing off his own persona rather than creating a new character.
7. What's most compelling about the movie, to us, is the idea that just about everyone, no matter how normal and ordinary they may seem, is actually grappling with some sort of secret dysfunction or burning unhappiness.  Merry Christmas, moviegoers! 
8. We won't hold against it the movie's obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles... or the way the one Dallas Cowboys fan is cast as a villain.
9. Jennifer Lawrence is a real woman in an industry full mostly of scrawny girls.  That's a good thing.  She's a real find.
10. Excelsior.
11. Best scene is probably the discussion of psychiatric drugs that plays like two film buffs talking about movies.
12. Where's Chris Tucker been?  Probably counting all his Rush Hour 3 money.  He's fun here, a reminder that he can be good in very small doses.
13. Clever script in the way the backstory unfolds organically throughout the story.  There is no awkward infodump of exposition to explain everything.  You have to pay attention to piece everything together.  This is how it's done, people.
14. Still don't like Julia Stiles.  Blech.  We'd be miserable married to her, too.
15. Spoiler alert: a satisfying, old-school romantic comedy ending.
16. Worth a look.

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