SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

This is a serviceable rom-com or rom-drom (if you like). Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lawrence are beautiful people, and their chemistry is nice. They dance together, which is lovely. De Niro is in it, as an OCD father whose purpose in life is to bet on the Philadelphia Eagles.

But. The. Problem. Is. . . You’ve Got Mail shows us what a rom-com is supposed to be, and what it’s supposed to have, which is a happy ending. If you’ve seen Silver Linings, you’re saying, “Hey! Wait a minute, that is a happy ending! They get together, don’t they?”

Well, sure. But look: in You’ve Got Mail, the main characters bring something to each other: Joe Fox (F-O-X) is a debonair gazillionaire who owns Giganto-Books, where Kathleen can live in peace, joy, books, and money for the rest of her life, and Kathleen brings a sweet joyful spirit that will fill all the sad empty places of Joe’s hitherto not-worth-living life. They will have beautiful babies who will be registered for fancy Manhattan preschools before they are born. The family will vacation in the South of France. He will buy her a crocodile Birkin.

Pat and Tiffany bond over their shared meds, and I can go there–I know Prozac makes you foggy, been there, made the co-pay. But it’s not something to build a life on, you know what I mean? Their poor kids are going to be trundled between grandparents, come-and-go babysitters, and Head Start, while Pat and Tiffany alternate in in-patient rehab. There will be knock-down drag-outs, TROs, and, eventually, shared custody. It’s not about the lower-middle-class thing. It’s about the mental illness thing, and it’s not a plan.

That said, I’m a massive Jennifer Lawrence fan. Her Hunger Games performance was dazzling, and this one is no small potatoes. (The script isn’t her fault.) Cooper’s now on my good list–in the last movie I saw him in, he didn’t actually speak, and here he both speaks and dances–bonus! He’s quite sparkly–he draws you in, and I’m not blaming Tiffany for falling for Pat, I’m just saying (since the script is trying to be all reality-based and Modern American), these people are way way far from being well enough to fall in love.

Plus there’s the little thing that he’s married. I know we’ve thrown away our devotedness to the Covenant of Marriage, now that Vera Bates showed us marriage doesn’t matter anymore if the wife is a Capital B-Word and there’s a sweet Little Anna in the wings, but maybe, if as Christians we are going to recommend a rom-com, it should be one where the characters are legally free to choose one another, mental illness or not.

Other than all that, the movie’s good if you don’t think past the ending to what is the inevitability of a mediocre-at-best life of two needy people going down the difficult path of second-marriage-after-divorce-and-widowhood while living in the garage add-on and taking a lot of Abilify.

Some skin (shower scene and later some skin-colored dancing outfits), some blasphemy. Racist content (against Indian-Americans, appropriately dealt with). Gambling.