Propelled by imagination and compassion, little Joy
Mangano toys with inventive ideas like a collar that won’t hurt her pet dog. As
her grandma observes, the little girl is amazingly patient and focused.
But when Joy grows up, her life centres around
cleaning up after a sloppy divorced mother obsessed with TV soaps. Ex-husband
Tony lives in her basement and father Rudy turns up on her doorstep after his
second woman has given him the boot. There’s a cynical half-sister too, and Joy
has two kids of her own. It’s a full house.
Fortunately, Joy’s creativity rears its head when she
invents a magical, self-wringing mop. And then begins the rigmarole of turning
the idea into a business model with a long sequence to show how new products
are sold through a TV show with celebrity hosts. Although based on the true
life success story of Joy Mangano, a housewife who invented the super mop and
made millions, there’s a fantasy-like feel all through.
Bradley Cooper as businessman Neil Walker comes in at
the opportune time to place his faith in Joy and give her a vital second chance
to sell her mop. He’s so impressed with her that he tells Joy, they are now
“friends in commerce”, which is another way of saying, no romance, I guess. But
soon writer-director David O Russell takes the usual route of naivete
overriding common sense. Joy entrusts her father and his rich girlfriend, and
her sardonic half-sister with important tasks like negotiating with a rival,
registering the patent and sourcing a manufacturer and placing a huge order
with him for producing the main part of the mop.
Naturally, they muff it up. The creditors are at the
door and her inept family takes the expected ‘We told you it won’t work’
stance. It’s only Tony, her former husband, who stays a friend till the end.
Joy cuts her hair, wears leather to show she now means
business and goes out to mop up the mess created by her family. With the magic
wand ambience persisting, Joy succeeds and sets up her own little empire. But
she makes Neil Walker, the man who helped make it all happen, wait his turn
outside her cabin door and then smugly tells him, “Now we’re adversaries in
commerce”. Like that’s her ultimate
But don’t forget, she’s a good girl. Therefore, Joy
still indulges her family who continue to feel they’re entitled. That it’s all
about family at the end is the main takeaway, never mind if Joy is far too
virtuous to ring true.
Jennifer Lawrence as Joy, Robert De Niro as her father
and Bradley Cooper oozing charm, are the main magnets that compel you to keep
watching the screen.
For a fairy-tale with a happy ending, Joy gets a 2.5* rating.
Reviewed byJournalist & Author
Bharathi S Pradhan