Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a brilliant con man, trapped in a loveless marriage to a harridan wife, Rosalyn (Lawrence).
She makes it painfully clear that she will demand sole custody of their son if Irving divorces her.
“She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate,” laments Irving in droll voiceover.
So the hustler throws himself into his work, recruiting an inexperienced sidekick Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who poses as an English aristocrat in order to bleed funds from gullible businessmen.
Irving and Sydney are arrested by ambitious FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), who forces them to put their dubious talents to good use by entrapping New Jersey Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) and his underworld associates.
As Irving and Sydney lure Carmine into their web, an increasingly jealous and vengeful Rosalyn threatens to destroy the undercover operation as well as Irving’s burgeoning love for his assistant.
Despite undeniable pleasures, you cannot escape the pain of American Hustle’s frequent longueurs, overbloated running time and shambolic plot.