Behind the scenes at QVC in Joy
Our review of David O. Russell’s latest is forthcoming, but suffice it to say there’s about 20 minutes in the middle where it feels like he’s making the movie he wants to make — and they’re only tangentially related to his protagonist. The sequence in question finds Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) visiting QVC, attempting to convince them to sell her miraculous new hand-crafted mop, and catching the attention of network honcho Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper). As he shows her around their soundstage, explaining what the network is and how it works, they end up watching a live broadcast (where one of the co-hosts is Melissa Rivers, playing her mother Joan — a nice touch), which Walker runs like an orchestra conductor: pushing in the camera, cueing the phones, bringing in an enthusiastic caller, etc. It’s got the improvisational energy of recent backstage films like Birdman and Steve Jobs; a Russell movie about the creation of QVC would’ve made a nice double feature with that King Brothers picture.