This movie breaks down fairly simply into the Hopeless Romantic versus Cynic dichotomy. Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, is the hopeless romantic, trying to overcome his bipolar disorder in order to win back his estranged wife. Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is the cynic who was recently widowed and is trying to overcome her current sex addiction.
Personally, I like Pat’s character – he has no filter between his brain and his mouth – saying whatever comes to mind. (He actually reminds me of Larry David’s character from Curb Your Enthusiasm.) When Pat first meets Tiffany, she’s not immediately put off by this too-honest, in-your-face conversation. They are able to overcome their usual difficulties relating to people and start to spend time together.
Their relationship works because it started off as a friendship and didn’t automatically devolve into a mutual dependency – which would be very easy for these two characters to do. (I’m looking at you, main characters of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.) Instead, they leverage their friendship to help each other – Pat eventually agreeing to train and compete in a couple’s dance competition with Tiffany if she helps deliver a letter to Pat’s estranged wife. (In fact, the plot reminds me a lot of The Cutting Edge.)
As Pat and Tiffany practice together, they become emotionally committed to the competition, and to each other. It takes a bit of time for Pat to realize this, though, still being hung up on his estranged wife and all. But he eventually figures things out. And there’s a bit of drama at the end involving some lying, but the silver lining shines through. “You let me lie to you for a week!?” “I was trying to be romantic.”
All in all, Hopeful Romantic Approved.
4 out of 5 Hopeful Hearts