Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 80s, but when I think of the 1970s one word comes to mind… Yuck! The bad hair, tacky suits, disco music and an unstable American economy has never been anything that I found appealing or attractive. Leave it to David O. Russell, director of The Fighter and last year’s Oscar darling Silver Linings Playbook, to make the 70s cool again with his growing stable of actors including Christian Bale, Amy Adams and, the hottest star on the planet, Jennifer Lawrence.

The image in my head of a con man is the suave gentleman in his finest threads that everyone just seems to gravitate to out of false respect. Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) is not that portrait in my mind. Rosenfeld is a fat, bald, cheap suit wearing trickster that’s the smartest guy in the room even if he’s doesn’t gain any respect. Bale once again transforms himself into the dumpy hustler who gets caught up in political corruption with Mob ties. Bale gives us another memorable character to add to his growing list of superb roles that will likely garner him another Oscar nomination.

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Bale may be excellent, but it’s the women who steal the show in American Hustle. Jennifer Lawrence takes a supporting role as Rosenfeld’s manipulative wife in the suburbs. The role is small, but she makes an impact with her wild child behavior. As great as Lawrence is, it’s Amy Adams who gives the strongest performance of American Hustle. Adam’s Sydney is Irving’s right hand woman in the scam operation and lives in a strange reality she has created for herself. Sydney is by far the most interesting character in American Hustle and even had me confused of her intentions in the film.

My only problem with American Hustle was Bradley Cooper. Not that Cooper was terrible, Cooper is hilarious as curly-haired FBI Agent Richie DiMaso. Cooper steals the show along with his frumpy boss played by Louis C.K. throughout American Hustle. My problem is that two years in a row Cooper turned in the performance of his career and once again he will lose out to superior performances come awards time. Cooper has moved away from his The Hangover days and has shown the world he’s one of the best actors working today.

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Overall, I give American Hustle 3.5 out of 4 stars.

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