Do the ‘Hustle’: ‘American Hustle’ actors shine, but plot falls flat

Chelsea Sherlock, Movie Reviewer

I’m beginning with the beginning. “American Hustle” opens with a 1970s looking Irving Rosenfeld, played by an overweight Christian Bale, going through an elaborate routine to perfect his combover. In the next scene, Bradley Cooper’s character, Richie DiMaso, rips the toupee off.

This sets the tone for the movie. It’s clearly established that Irving thrives off the fake persona he creates . It is abundantly evident that a large part of the movie will be Irving and Richie fighting and struggling to work together.

From that opening scene, the film takes off.  It’s very fast paced with a lot of events occurring over the two plus hours. The movie kept me awake and engaged throughout. Each actor and actress fully embraced his or her role and delivered authentic performances. The plot was interesting, and the ’70s era clothing was fantastic. Amy Adams and Christian Bale are radically different from past characters they have played, and their relationship is complicated and progressive for their time.

I have two major criticisms about the movie. First, it gives almost every plot point away. Some of the best movies are the ones where you get to the end and wonder how in the world they will resolve all the issues, and viewers are still guessing about the fate and true role of different characters. That is not the case in “American Hustle.” A lot of major plot points are revealed in blatant close ups or dialogue. Some of the excitement was taken away because it was easy to guess most of what would happen, though it was still fun to see it unfold.

The second issue was that the movie felt very similar in style, pacing and the performances of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper to “Silver Linings Playbook.” This is probably because David Russell directed and wrote both films. Cooper and Lawrence exhibit a lot of the same quirks and chemistry as they did as the leads in “Playbook.”

Also, Amy Adams’ breasts are practically their own character. I get that Edith is supposed to be sexy and use her feminine wiles to help con people, but I would appreciate a little bit more coverage. It was a little hard to focus on the plot when my thoughts were occupied with the fact that she was dangerously close to a nip slip. The people around me were also definitely as distracted as I was, though most likely not for the same reasons.

Overall, the movie is a fun watch, but I will be very surprised if it wins best picture at the Oscars.


Bradley Cooper with small curlers in his hair is one of the most attractive yet disturbing sights I’ve seen of him.

I spent a good five minutes not realizing that the actress playing Richie’s mom was a woman.

Louis C.K. is a good actor.

Hair can have a dramatic impact on a person’s attractiveness.

I wish I were around in the ’70s.

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