Bradley Cooper wears many hats over his trademark blue eyes for this film: singer, star, writer, and director – he’s a regular Streisand.
Lady Gaga nails every note but gives only a few unforced sequences. Her first few scenes with Cooper are decently honest and raw. As soon as her character reaches performance mode, however, she’s back to standard Gaga: almost meat suit, Kermit dress level.
Her character is allowed some complexity: she’s snarky but subdued, impulsive but fearful. Yet, we never know much more about her than her immediate feelings. Cooper’s Jack character gets more backstory, but character gaps make him the big/hearted addict performer only.
Brilliant musical numbers performed as live stadium shows interrupt the otherwise arduous pacing revealing huge character gaps and content foibles including Dave Chappell’s one perfect scene which feels dropped in like an afterthought.
The scenes in the house were O’Russell-esque: wild with conversational dialogue and frenzied POV. Delightful with perfectly cast Andrew Dice Clay as her father. Otherwise, most dialogue felt messy and foul-mouthed, forgetting continuity and consistency in favor of Gaga power ballads.