David O. Russell’s freewheeling directorial style is Joy’s biggest strength and its biggest weakness. This is the story inspired by the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. There is no obvious way to film her story, as it is an odd fit for the typical biopic structure, or anything else really. So Russell addresses that problem by throwing a bunch of random ideas together that play like bits of inspiration from throughout his career that he has not gotten around to yet. They are always interesting, even if they do not especially cohere as a unified whole. There are dream sequences that exist just for the hell of it, progressive ideas about ex-spouses, dynamic cinematographic coverage, a typical all-star Russell cast excitingly bouncing off of each other, Susan Lucci playing a soap opera star, Melissa Rivers playing her mother, and about a million other things. They make for a film that is almost as zesty as American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, but also a lot more exhausting.