Actor Bradley Cooper puts on the hats of writer, director, and soulful, drunken country rocker for the latest version of this oft-told tale of lovers whose stars are crossing (hers ascending, his crashing to earth). In this case, the “her” is known pop-star quantity Lady Gaga, a singer whose work has often displayed the kind of knowing theatricality that shows up here. She oozes swoon-worthy confidence onscreen, even when she’s playing unconfident and shy, and the appeal of it will surely be enough to carry some folks through the, um, generous runtime. But if 2011’s The Artist was an homage, this is more of a burlesque, a hot mess of a movie that takes its dramatic cues from the camp excesses of the drag queens among whom our hammered hero finds the lucky Lady. (She performs “La Vie en Rose” while extracting actual roses from her dress, and from this, he guesses she's a songwriter, one with something to say and a way to say it.) The movie is about the bitch goddess fame — YouTube views, record deals, TV appearances, industry awards. But Cooper seems to be chasing something more exalted: a personal drama broadcast via pop songs. As a result, there’s a lot of talk about artistic integrity — but there's not nearly enough genuine drama or artistry on display to justify all the sturm und drang.
Length: 2 hours, 15 minutes