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December 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Not a single major newspaper critic has written a negative review about American Hustle. Those who have included some criticism of the film in their reviews have been quick to offset that with solid praise — even, sometimes, in the same sentence. Take Ty Burr’s review in the Boston Globe, for example, who calls the movie a “sloppy, miscast, hammed up, overlong, overloud story that still sends you out of the theater on a cloud of rapture.” Says Claudia Puig in USA Today: “There’s not much substance underlying the razzle-dazzle of this complicated caper, but viewers will be so mesmerized by the blend of brilliant acting, outlandish incidents, rousing music and well-timed humor that any deeper meanings will not be missed.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times credits the performances of the stars, under the direction of David O. Russell, for that lift into the clouds — particularly Christian Bale. “It’s a pleasure to see him warm up, soften up, not only because he looks as if he were having a good time, but also because he’s extraordinary here.” Joe Morgenstern focuses on director Russell. “How does the guy do it? Where does he find the energy not just his own, which seems to be infinitely renewable these days, but the comic energy that sustains his five stars? All of them Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner are at the top of their game.” Likewise, Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times notes that Russell is “on a hot streak,” noting that he has followed The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook with another “dizzying, outlandishly entertaining” film. “Out of control people are Russell’s specialty. Like a cowboy working in the biggest of corrals, he lets his characters roam as far and wide as they please before reining them in with perfect control at the close,” Turan writes.