Jennifer Lawrence is a bright young woman who is being held back from her true potential by her dysfunctional family. She lives in a house with her grandma, both of her divorced parents, her ex-husband and her two children. She is stuck in a rut, but at the very point at which she thinks she can take it no longer, she is struck with an idea for a brand new mop.
Oh boy what a disaster this film is. Joy is a complete shambles from start to finish. It just has no idea what film it is, and neither do I. It’s not a heart-warming family drama, it’s not a comedy, it’s not an awards film and it’s certainly not a feel-good film, what it is though is a mess. And the cause for this is the script. It’s completely disjointed and unnatural and half the time makes no sense at all. At times it is literally as if every character is from a different film. Now I think most of them perform fairly well within whatever film they think is being made, but none of them work well together. There is just no chemistry here.
However, Jennifer Lawrence. Despite being in this car crash Jenifer Lawrence’s reputation as one of the most watchable stars in film today stay firmly intact. Without her I would hate this film, but as it is I couldn’t help but root for her. Because no matter how much I felt repulsed by the huge unprompted tonal shifts and irritated by the complete lack in chemistry between any actors involved I found myself liking her enough and being ever so slightly charmed by the film. Mind you this only happens in the final third, because for a good hour and a bit Joy is damn near unwatchable. It does sort of find its feet as soon as she begins advertising, but honestly I credit Jennifer Lawrence with everything good about this movie.
At the end of the day I’m just completely stumped by Joy. Because while it is a catastrophe in terms of what it set out to achieve (presumably to win Jen an Oscar, and be enjoyable) I kind of liked it. Despite everything wrong with it, at the end it was kind of charming. So yes I considered just walking out at one point, sure there are bits where Joy is accidentally worse than the purposefully awful soap opera that plays in the background throughout but you know what I kind of admire a film that means well overall but just fails in every way. Much in the way that I have a soft spot for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 for being the second worst film I have ever seen on a technical level.