American Hustle opened to very positive critical reviews and so I went to see the film — and was disappointed. The cast and the acting was impressive. The script and the premise of the film simply fell short and was — well — boring.
The film is based on the FBI’s ABSCAM Group 1 undercover operation (1978) in which members of Congress were targeted in a public corruption investigation. Of the thirty-one targeted officials, one senator, Harrison A. Williams (D-NJ), and six members of the House of Representatives John Jenrette (D-SC), Richard Kelly (R-FL), Raymond Lederer (D-PA), Michael Myers (D-PA), Frank Thompson (D-NJ), and John M. Murphy (D-NY) were convicted of bribery and conspiracy in separate trials in 1981.
It’s one of those situations where Hollywood writers/directors take a factual situation and try to make it funny by making the cops look stupid. The movie enters the theater of the absurd and that’s how it ends up playing out — absurd. And it’s not only absurd, it’s slow. When I go to a movie, I usually suspend disbelief, and I personally enjoy a wide variety of films.
- The writers didn’t make ANY of the characters likable.
- The writers would have you believe that one dysfunctional FBI Special Agent (who lives with his mother and beats up his boss) runs an investigation into Congressional misconduct almost completely alone and without oversight. Maybe if it had been funny, it would have worked, but it turned out to be simply ‘stupid’.
- The mafia sequences were even slower than the rest of the film.
Verdict: If you’re going to a movie because you’re bored, this will only bore you further. There were elements of this film that reminded me of a “French Movie”.