December 20, 2013 9:06 AM

‘American Hustle’ shakes things up in style

A larky, anarchic life force runs through “American Hustle,” David O. Russell’s screwball homage to the strivers and connivers who wreak playful havoc with what could easily have been a straight-up, if antic, FBI procedural. Notionally based on the 1978 Abscam investigation, wherein an FBI sting used fake Arab sheiks to ferret out corruption within the ranks of Congress and local jurisdictions, “American Hustle” cheerfully jettisons any pretense of historical accuracy or journalistic shoe-leather.

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