Hard Cash (2002)

reviewed by
David N. Butterworth

A film review by David N. Butterworth
Copyright 2003 David N. Butterworth
no stars (out of ****)

Question: What do "name" stars like Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, and Daryl Hannah do when they're not working? Answer: They star in a film like "Run for the Money."

Inspired, like a gazillion straight-to-video featurettes before it, by "Pulp Fiction" and anything else Quentin Tarrantino might have had his hand in, "Run for the Money" (straight-to video title "Hard Cash" and no, it's not a sequel to "Tango and Cash") is dopey, dismal, and downright dumb. When the opening scene makes you feel as though you've already missed about an hour of the plot you know you're in trouble.

This is your less-than-average heist-gone-awry flick featuring a bivouac of goons who don't know which side their bread's buttered. Slater is the "mastermind" with a trailer park girlfriend and a 10-year-old daughter; Hannah is a hot pant sporting slutty accomplice; and William Forsythe is the tough they rip off. Only these inept thieves wind up stealing worthless government bills (i.e., money stamped FED), which is where Kilmer's crooked FBI agent comes in.

The acting is standard issue--only Hannah truly embarrasses herself although Kilmer looks like he realizes he picked the wrong project early on (he's not in it much, thankfully)--but the direction (by Predrag Antonijevic), writing, and production values are bargain basement. Take one of the film's several chase scenes, for example. Not only are these sequences shot with incredibly shoddy use of blue screen ("Saturday Night Live""s "Toonces: The Cat Who Can Drive a Car" looks more convincing) but also the cars truly look to be going 5mph!

And the logic loopholes are too numerous to mention.

Proving his acting chops Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from the "Austin Powers" franchise) plays a gang member who poses as a fetus, hides in a toilet bowl, and then literally earns his weight in greenbacks, all the time making lewd and unfunny remarks at his female cast members. Balthazar Getty ("Lost Highway") is underutilized as one of two brothers Hannah's character is, er, seeing. There's also an ax wielding money launderer and a Hispanic homeless person, the latter of whom provides the film with its totally perplexing "shock" ending.

And yes. Ben Franklin on that $100.00 bill actually winks at us.

David N. Butterworth

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