Based on a true story, a typical O. Russell will feature one of his all-stars (Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams) playing someone with a dream they've never really had a chance to live. This is due in part to their difficult family who have problems with neurosis and/or addiction. With the help of a friend or love interest, the lead character will reach the top against all odds in one of the cinematic year's 'feel good' moments. The movie is both devastating and hilarious in equal measure. Christian Bale will probably show up at some point having mutilated his body for the role.
As formulaic as his films may be, the director has a pretty great track record, with The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle all brilliant and deservedly decorated.
In the case of Joy, Jennifer Lawrence plays real life inventor Joy Mangano who, as a child, was incredibly creative. Due to to her staying home to help her parents through their divorce instead of going to college, and her mum refusing to patent her self-releasing dog collar, she didn't quite live up to her potential. After cutting her hands wringing a mop full of broken glass, she has the idea of the self-wringing mop and looks to her father's eccentric, wealthy girlfriend to invest in selling them as a business.