David O. Russell has a knack for chaotic domestic comedy, with the yelling and the screaming and the occasional punching. Silver Linings Playbook has a lot in common with his previous movie, The Fighter–this one is set in Philadelphia not Boston, and there is a Led Zeppelin set piece in this one, too. It also has Jennifer Lawrence who steals the movie. The rest of the cast is good but she’s the straw that stirs the drink.
The story is predictable, you can see everything coming five minutes ahead of time–and not especially credible–but that doesn’t necessarily spoil its charms. And Lawrence’s character is believable, you’ve likely known a woman like her, which makes the whole thing work. The more I thought about Silver Linings Playbook after it was over, the thinner it seemed, but I smiled and laughed while I watched it.