I sound like a broken record when I complain about romantic comedies: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. The film has to follow the formula or the audience is disappointed. So how does a screenwriter inject originality into that formula? Are the characters unknowingly related (gross)? Is one limbless or royal or Dutch? Or…mentally ill?

Pat (Bradley Cooper) is recovering from an incident…or an episode, call it a breakdown. After catching his wife in the shower with another man, he unleashes his previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Fast-forward to the hospital, and Pat’s mother, Delores (Jacki Weaver), taking custody of Pat as he tries to get back on his feet. And that’s when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence).

Tiffany is equally unbalanced and complicated as Pat, and the two team up to help Pat win back his estranged wife. If you guess what happens next, give yourself a gold star. In any event, this is a refreshing and extremely well-acted film.

It’s a 7.

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