Joy is joyless. There is nothing entertaining about watching Joy and her family of unsympathetic characters make bad decisions. And even when Joy eventually triumphs, it’s not fulfilling in the least because by then you are tired of her.
Apparently this is all based on a real person, Joy Mangano. According to Wikipedia, the real Joy is a big deal on the Home Shopping Network and invented the mop in this movie along with a bunch of other stuff. The real Joy is now a multimillionaire and an executive producer of Joy the movie. I didn’t know of her beforehand and in hindsight I would rather have kept it that way. I did not find Joy’s story interesting and it’s certainly not entertaining. The only way I can rationalize this movie’s existence is as an ego trip for the real Joy.
So naturally, I am surprised this is nominated for a Golden Globe in the Musical or Comedy category for two reasons. First, it’s not a good movie. Second, it’s not funny at all. I didn’t laugh once.
I’m surprised as well that Jennifer Lawrence is nominated for best actress. I don’t think she gives a bad performance but there’s nothing here worthy of recognition. Joy needed to be a sympathetic character in order for this movie to work, but she’s not. There’s nothing Lawrence could have done to change that, it’s an inherent flaw of the underlying character. You don’t feel sorry for Joy because she’s letting her family (and ex-family) take advantage of her, so of course her life is shitty. She keeps letting that happen over and over, and I quickly stopped caring whether she would have a happy ending. All I wanted after about 20 minutes was for the movie to end.
But because of those Golden Globe nominations, I stuck with it. I felt obligated and I figured Joy must turn around sometime. Well, it doesn’t. Joy is a chore all the way through, which is ironic considering Joy is a movie based around a cleaning product. I give Joy a score of four Miracle Mops out of ten.