"The Silver Linings Playbook," which Russell adapted and directed, stars Bradley Cooper as a man fresh out of a mental hospital and living with his parents while he tries to get his life back together. His plan to win back his estranged wife is derailed when he meets an unstable young widow, played by Jennifer Lawrence.
Both Lawrence and Cooper are easy on the eyes, and Cooper is more talented than he's given credit for, together the two establish a great rhythm, snapping off quick dialog with ease. And their experience was so mutually positive that they've already filmed another movie together, "Serena," a Depression Era tale about a wealthy couple who discover the wife cannot bear children.
Surrounding Lawrence and Cooper is the likes of Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver as his parents, John Ortiz and Julia Stiles, and most improbably, Chris Tucker as Cooper's therapist.
Does it look schmaltzy? Oh yeah--but when we heard Russell was making an underdog sports movie--"The Fighter"--we wrote it off. We won't make that mistake again.
"The Silver Linings Playbook" opens Nov. 21.