By ironing out the thorny, antisocial edges he still displayed in Silver Linings Playbook, writer-director David O. Russell delivers his best, most accessible film to date--a sexy, hilarious, quintessentially American black comedy. This mesmerizing period piece has fun with the (real life) ABSCAM scandal of the late-'70s. Christian Bale and Amy Adams play a couple of con artists recruited (blackmailed more like it) by a cocky FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) into helping entrap politicians in a multimillion-dollar bribery case. For all the manic fun, though, there's a tough emotional nugget at the center of it all--the idea that sometimes even con artists, liars and hustlers would really like to be the person they're pretending to be. 138 minutes R.