You know all of the actors: Batman, Lois Lane, Rocket Raccoon, Hawkeye, and Mystique. Unfortunately, it’s not a DC/Marvel crossover that some fans may want, but it’s an “avenger-esque” movie cast of actors for American Hustle. The movie is loosely based on the Abscam Scandals of the 1970s where Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) teams up with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) to pull off small white-collar scams. They go through their ups-and-downs as a team all while getting weaved into a bigger web of crime involving the mafia and politicians. Lots of bad hair, bad suits, deep plunging neck lines, and Amy Adams side boob.
It’s a typical con-artist movie, that glorifies the shadiness of scams. Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney enjoy a life of crime, but eventually get caught by FBI Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), and are forced to work elaborate schemes in order to capture bigger fish. It’s a decent story with some plot twists and unexpected moments, but I’m not entirely sure what the hype is. Don’t get me wrong. All of the actors did their jobs and turned in some solid performances, and it’s easy to see why Amy Adams won the “Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy” at the Golden Globes. However, I would not have pegged this movie as a comedy if it didn’t dub itself as one in the commercials and trailers.
I wouldn’t even really call it a “dramady.” It was more drama with some comedic moments, but a lot of the seemingly funny moments were also met with awkwardness. I found myself nervously giggling to break the tension of the scene, and sometimes I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing or not. For example, there’s a scene where Stoddard Thorsen, played by comedian Louis C.K., gets the shit beat out of him. While the scene was slightly amusing with the way it was spliced, it tried to make light of a situation that shouldn’t have been funny. Almost like an untimely joke that’s just a little “too soon.”
I think what was missing for me was that they didn’t really get into the scams. Instead, they focused more on the character stories and arcs. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting something along the lines of the movie “Confidence” starring Ed Burns. I wanted bigger twists and “a-ha” moments and something to really drive it home, like a “Keyser Soze” or “I’m your father” reveals.
Overall, American Hustle was a good movie but I think is a little over-hyped given its all-star cast. It has great moments, a good story, and some great acting, but falls short of actual greatness. You won’t be mad if you paid to see it in theaters, but you won’t be sorry if you waited until Blu-Ray either.