Manohla Dargis of the NY Times loves David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, making it a critic’s pick of the week. She says audiences are longing for a happy ending only Russell can deliver:
As its title announces, “Silver Linings Playbook” honks, waves and pleads for happiness. Not long into the story Pat angrily tosses out a copy of “A Farewell to Arms” and rails about Hemingway’s sucker-punch finale. The world, Pat yells — at his parents, the neighbors, us — is hard enough. It’s both comical and somewhat pitiful, but it also feels like an authorial declaration because it dovetails with Mr. Russell’s belief in joyous, transporting cinema. It’s no wonder that Tiffany shows Pat a clip from “Singin’ in the Rain,” that blast of pure euphoria. Happy endings used to be de rigueur in American movies, and while they often still are, the feelings accompanying them tend to feel as canned as Katherine Heigl’s laughter, maybe because filmmakers no longer buy them, or think that we don’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a bleak, despairing cry in the dark as much as the next existentially anguished, post-film consumer, but there is a great deal to be said for delivering the bad news on screen with a pratfall. Mr. Russell’s affinity for sight gags and the slap and tickle that makes lovers of combatants derives from his affinity for screwball comedy, a genre that emerged in the 1930s and that he borrows for his own singular purposes. His movies embrace different problems and character types — a strung-out drug addict rather than an alcohol-soaked swell — but like the classics of the form, they have zippy, at times breakneck pacing, rapidly fired zingers and physical comedy that, taken together, reflect the wild unpredictability of the greater world.
And LA Times’ Kenneth Turan loves it as well: