Con-artists Irving and Sidney are forced by the FBI to entrap frauds or go to jail - as the hustling grows bigger, who's conning whom?
will appeal to those who like their humour, as con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) puts it, 'not black and white, but extremely grey.' Full of fraudsters, politicos, liars and cheats, American Hustle is a cheeky tribute to American life, sticking its tongue out deliciously at all its loving lies.
Irving and Sidney (Adams) are partners in crime, passionate about money and each other. But Irving can't leave his son and sexy, crazy wife Rosalyn (Lawrence, playing the dumb blonde to nail-polished perfection). Irving's life gets more twisted when he and Sidney are entrapped by the FBI's Richard DiMaso (Cooper) who demands they catch more criminals, thus involving mayor Carmine Polito (Renner, saccharine-sweet), mob-king Victor Tellegio (De Niro), a fake sheikh, money, stress - and lots of sex.
's stars are its story and performances but its look deserves mention too. The detailing brings alive 1970s America, all sideburns and fur coats, oil money and big hair. Sinking into the styling, you don't even notice how faultless Bale's performance is as fat, balding Irving, who looks at Sydney with longing, at Rosalyn with frustration. But you do notice Adams' uninhibited performance as super-sexy Sydney - metamorphosed from writing Cosmo 'cover stories on cunnilingus' to 'Lady Edith from England'. Adams rips apart her role with abandoned sexiness, intimate sadness - and a wardrobe any sensible woman would hustle for.
Cooper's hilarious as a driven FBI agent while Lawrence impresses as idiotically beautiful Rosalyn - whose boyfriend's from the mob. As Polito lobbies politicos - and De Niro does a delicious cameo as snarling mobster Tellegio, addressing a Mexican sheikh in Arabic - the hustling grows. Who wins?
amuses with irony, music and wit. It tantalizes with danger but doesn't get violent. Its sexiness - there's grinding in washrooms, on tables and laps - is electric and fun. Intelligent and good-looking,
could've lost 20 minutes to deliver an even sharper kick.
But otherwise, fun for those who like vibrant humour - that's extremely grey.