“Silver Linings Playbook” soundtrack, various acts (Sony)
The movie “Silver Linings Playbook” has sustained momentum through the holidays, and the comedy/drama is one of the buzz films for this winter’s awards season. The David O. Russell-directed flick stars Bradley Cooper as a former teacher with anger-management problems and fresh from a mental institution, Robert De Niro as his OCD father and Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow with anger issues of her own.
Music is often key to the story — from Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour,” which triggers Cooper’s character’s rage, to the medley of songs that serve as a backdrop for a climactic dancing competition. But unfortunately, “Silver Linings Playbook” doesn’t have a fraction of the continuity or allure of the movie.
Instead, it’s a typical soundtrack hodgepodge, underscored by the fact there are two instrumental songs each from the Dave Brubeck Quartet (the hand-clapping romp “Unsquare Dance” and a spin on “Maria” from “West Side Story”) and movie-score wunderkind Danny Elfman (the scattershot “Silver Lining Titles” and the rote “Walking Home,” which represents that obligatory dark moment in seemingly every comedy and romance when the characters have had a misunderstanding and one or more of them is seen strolling reflectively down a street).
In addition to “My Cherie Amour,” there are disparate oldies ranging from the Polynesian-flavored “The Moon of Manakoora” by Les Paul and Mary Ford, to the soul-jam “Hey Big Brother” by Rare Earth, to the sober Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash duet “Girl From the North Country.”
New songs are likewise far-flung: limber, rootsy rock from Alabama Shakes (“Always Alright”), a trippy excursion from Alt-J featuring Mountain Man (“Buffalo”), a blurry, anonymous slice of rawness from Eagles of Death Metal (“Now I’m a Fool”), the serpentine-cool jazz of “Goodnight Moon” by Ambrosia Parsley & The Elegant Too, and a pointless and dull remake of “Monster Mash” by CrabCorps. Then there’s the Dianne Warren-penned power-pop/modern R&B Jessie J track “Silver Lining,” which could serve as the film’s mainstream signature hit.
Stitched together, these songs are a composite mess, much like the relationships in the film.
Yet to be fair, the soundtrack of any relationship might sound incoherent to outsiders. And the silver lining here is that these songs are attached to a great movie.
Rating (five possible): 3