In this movie Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solatano. At the beginning of the movie, Pat is being released from a mental hospital after an eight month stay, and it is quite obvious that he has bipolar disorder. He was released into the care of his parents and soon learns that his wife, Nikki, has left, and that his father has taken to illegal bookmaking in order to raise money to start his own restaurant. Pat then begins to try and get his life back on track and avenge things with Nikki, who has gotten a restraining order against him.
Later in the introduction, Pat speaks to his court-ordered therapist and Pat reveals why he was hospitalized: one day he left his high school teaching job early because he got into a fight with the principal. When he walks into his house he hears his wedding song playing, and then sees his wife in the shower with a high school history teacher. Upon seeing this Pat flies into a rage, and nearly beats the history teacher to death. Despite his obvious mental shortcomings Pat refuses to take his medication, instead insisting on taking a more positive outlook on life. To do this he starts working out to lose weight, and he also begins reading books that Nikki, a high school English teacher, put on her syllabus.
Pat has a dinner with his friend Ronnie and meets Ronnie’s sister-in-law Tiffany. Tiffany is now a young widow. These two have a scratchy start to their relationship due to Pat’s faithfulness to Nikki. After their first date, Tiffany literally offers Pat sex, which he denies. As the two get closer they become dance partners and and rehearse routinely for a competition. Pat was also very skeptical of dancing with Tiffany, however, he then believes it is a good way to show Nikki how much he has improved as a man. Pat’s life was finally starting to look up for him, but he then attended an Eagles game where his father wanted him for good luck. He ended up getting in a fight with some other Eagles fans and was taken away by the police. The Eagles ended up losing this game causing Pat’s dad to be furious with Pat’s actions (he had a lot of money on the game and is very superstitious). Later that night, Tiffany exploded on Pat for missing rehearsal and ended up calling out his whole family.
In her rant, Tiffany said that the Eagles have only been playing well while her and Pat were together. Pat Sr. realizes this and makes yet another bet, doubling his previous bet. Pat, Tiffany, and their friends then arrive at the dance competition, which is conveniently being held on the same day as the Eagles game. Later on, before Pat and Tiffany perform Nikki shows up with Pat’s friends and Tiffany becomes paranoid and starts drinking. Pat had to pull her off the bar and go straight into their routine. They ended up doing not so great, but still got a 5 which was perfect for Pat Sr. During their routine the Eagles simultaneously beat the Cowboys resulting in Pat Sr’s double or nothing win. However, after the performance Pat goes over to Nikki and whispers in her ear. This broke Tiffany’s heart causing her to run off. Pat eventually caught up to her and confesses his love for her for the first time.
One of the most popping themes to me from this movie was that everyone has something they are dealing with. This movie is specifically about finding the light at the end of the tunnel, being hopeful when it is all dark. For example, Pat is going through his bipolar disorder and trying to better himself for Nikki the whole movie. What he does not realize is how Tiffany has been there the whole time and Nikki is no longer at the end of his tunnel. Tiffany also is trying to make it through a difficult situation herself. She is a young widow and the dinner with her sister goes terribly bad and she was still trying to have more time with Pat after it. Even after Pat denies her time after time, she stayed optimistic and the two looked like a happy couple at the end scene.
Besides from these two, Pat Sr. and Ronnie also seem to be going through a troubling time. As Pat first sees Ronnie (his old friend), Ronnie acts happy and the truth ends up coming out that his family is also falling apart. Pat Sr. was introduced to the movie looking like a jerk for having to watch the Eagles game instead of being there for his son. When Pat moves the remote during the Eagles game Pat Sr. yells at him and moves the remote back into place. We realize that Pat Sr. has a superstitious OCD when he has money on the Eagles games. Later on, he bets on another game and take Pat to attend and everything went down hill including the Eagles losing. When doubling his bet to an all or nothing bet, Pat Sr. ended up winning and opened up the light at the end of his tunnel, his restaurant.