Synopsis: Joy, an inventor and entrepreneur, strives for success while raising her children and contending with her extended family. Loosely based on Joy Mangano and the invention that got her started: the Miracle Mop.
As the movie begins, director and screenwriter David O. Russell invites us into the ramshackle house and life of Joy, vibrantly played by the redoubtable Jennifer Lawrence. She endures bad hours and bad customers as an airline reservations clerk while raising her two elementary school-age children. Joy also referees the bickering between her broke ex and her meddlesome father (played by Edgar Ramirez and Robert DeNiro, respectively) who share her basement. Furthermore, our heroine tends to her soaps-addicted mom and her wise but frail grandma. She’s exhausted and discouraged. But Joy used to have dreams!
So who will clean up the many messes of Joy’s household? A knight in shining armor, if you will: The Mop. Because Joy has a talent for invention and engineers a superior mop, initially sketched out with her daughter’s crayons. The Mop will become the foundation of a financial empire and set Joy’s journey to matriarch-dom in motion. And what a beauty The Mop is: 300 yards of soft cotton twining alluringly swirled onto a glossy mop head.
I was so nervous for The Mop when Joy finally gets her big break and auditions for the QVC television shopping network execs, including a big wig played by Bradley Cooper. I could tell that Joy was intimidated by the high stakes situation but The Mop kept her grounded. She composes herself, holding tightly to her slender cleaning friend, and they nail the audition. I barely caught my breath before she and The Mop appear on live QVC TV. Stage-frightened Joy stammers through her sales pitch and then douses the mock kitchen’s floor tiles with chocolate sauce! And more muck! Stop it, Joy! You’ve gone too far! But The Mop keeps a level head and vanquishes the mess. Such a superstar. But complications arise as unscrupulous people try to take advantage of this newbie businesswoman.
Will Joy be able to achieve her dreams of success? Well, she’s smart and hardworking. And she does have the encouragement of friends and family. Most importantly, she has the unwavering support of The Mop, so I think you know the answer to that question.
Cut to the Chase: Go for J Law. Stay for The Mop.
Comedy Highlight: Robert DeNiro as Joy’s dad. Self-absorbed, abrupt and likable AF.