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Very conservative people might not like the plot of this film (kid
tries to get his widowed dad and an ex-hooker to fall in love with each
other), but actually everything is quite harmless and fun.
The story gets sometimes a bit silly (especially when the boy takes Melanie Griffith to school as part of his "science project"), but the acting and the comedy is good. There was always a smile on my lips as I watched the misunderstandings between Harris and Griffith, when the dad believes that she is a math tutor and the hooker believes he knows her true job.
Ed Harris does a good job as the shy father, and Melanie Griffith is believable as the golden hearted hooker. But it's the kid (Michael Patrick Carter) the one who steals the show, with his winning smile and his mixture of innocence and curiosity.
I'm sick of reading bad reviews of this movie. This is such a funny, heartwarming and endearing film. One look at the premise and many people would think it's hard to make the movie work that way but it does. This was my favorite movie of 1994 and it works on so many levels. The interaction between the actors is fantastic. Even though it is more a light-hearted comedy the teenaged stars are given a realistic treatment throughout the film which is something rarely see in film. Michael Patrick Carter, Melanie Griffith and Ed Harris are all stellar. This movie is filled with wonderful enduring scenes and is truly a delight.
I saw "Milk Money" when I was eleven; much of what happens in the movie
is the sort of stuff that would make any eleven-year-old boy think
"Whoa...cool!" Looking back on it, I still think that it was pretty
funny, but was it the most mature movie? No, and it doesn't pretend to
be. I read somewhere that this movie was sexist; I wouldn't know one
way or the other. All that I interpreted was that the movie was a nice,
horny excuse to have fun. Richard Benjamin has proved himself to be
quite capable as a director, and this adds to that.
I know, the prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold context is a cliché, but this is a comedy, so it passes. And believe you me, this V (Melanie Griffith) is definitely a V for vendetta! Also starring Ed Harris, Malcolm McDowell, Casey Siemaszko, and a very young Anne Heche. Really entertaining, especially the report on the female reproductive system.
In some cases I'd say this is better then Pretty Woman. I say "some" with weight because Pretty Woman is a classic. But Milk Money fills that "hole" you had watching pretty woman. Ed Harris's character is sincere and attentive which matches Melanie's softness (which at the best of times can spoil her on screen performances) perfectly. It's a classic boy meets girl movie with that dash of "damsel in distress but is now hardened and tough due to life being so rough and who now finally meets a man who breaks through it all and understands and loves her for who she is" - as far as romantic comedies go- it was better then I thought it would be and even gets the heart strings welling when Ed Harris tells her "this could hurt"...The story itself can be at times almost childish, but in the end that's part of it's charm.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Milk Money' gets its title from the idea that a group of prepubescent
boys pool together their money to pay a hooker for a peek at her
breasts. If this sounds like a smutty and degrading idea, then it pains
me remind you that this is a family picture.
First, let's start with that basic idea. In the days of 537 cable channels as well as the internet as well as old reliable dad's porn stash - why would a group of prepubescent boys want to waste their time looking for a hooker. Because they are all dimwits and because the movie needs an idea from a better movie to reside over it's languid plot. The better movie being Pretty Woman which somehow managed to sidestep every cliché and empty-headed idea that this movie has.
The hooker, named V (Melanie Griffith) has a heart of gold. Why a heart of gold? Because it would explain why she doesn't seem to worry about social diseases or AIDS, it explains one of the reasons that she is so willing to leave the trade, it allows for the fact that she never has to explain how she got on the streets in the first place and it makes her a suitable mate for the kid's widowed father that's why! As if trying to weld those ideas together isn't bad enough then we have to contend with V's evasion from the Mafia who think V stole money from them. Then we get the father (Ed Harris) who is so hapless and stupid as to not notice that his kid is hiding a hooker in his treehouse and when he finally meets her is the last to figure out what her profession is. Then we have to throw in a subplot alluding to the fact that he wants to save some wetlands from being turned into a parking lot leading to one of those scenes where he is chained to a his car to keep the bulldozer from wrecking the place 'Milk Money' can't exist as a tease because there is a kid in the way. We know that since it's a family picture that the presence of a prostitute means that the movie will exclude any of the expected 'exposure'. So instead it has to throw in all these hackneyed cutesy clichés in order to attract and audience whose attention span is as long as your hand.
Rating: * (of four)
I've loved this movie ever since I was a kid, and after about a dozen viewings (damn, I've been having too much time) there's one question that still bothers me: who's this movie aimed at? On the surface it definitely looks like a family movie. You have your Disney-like music under almost every scene, you have your tired, clichéd story about kids wanting to make sugary sweet adults fall in love, you have your character that gets his heart cut out wait what? You have your hapless but likable kids who pull all kinds of school shenanigans, you have...Malcolm McDowall as a crazed pimp who pulls out his gun at a school dance? This movie just bounces all over the place, but it's fascinating rather than bothersome. Furthermore, even after so many times this is still a pretty effective little tearjerker. You know this stuff is probably going to end well (with someone getting his heart cut out?), but getting there is quite touching. You know she'll stay in the end, but still, don't leave. Ed Harris and Melanie Griffith also have near-perfect chemistry, it always helps if the protagonists of your romantic comedy look like they actually want to be there. "Milk Money" has its shortcomings because it's essentially an off-brand "Pretty Woman", but it's a childhood memory that I kinda cherish to this day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Young Frank Wheeler (Michael Patrick Carter) and his two friends have
the brilliant idea to pool their milk money and head to the closest
city to flag down a woman to show them her boobs. This brilliant notion
allows them to cross paths with V, a prostitute played by Melanie
Griffith, who ends up following them back to their small town on the
run from her pimp. There Frank's mild-mannered single dad Ed Harris
falls for V, not realizing her background.
I am really hard-pressed to figure out who the audience for this film is. It is entirely too smutty for a family film and no where near smutty enough for the adults that may find this theme appealing. Director (and former actor) Richard Benjamin continues to be a director of limited merit. It is absurd that in this day and age kids like Frank and his friends could not see bare boobs by sneaking into a movie theater or looking in art books or Playboy, but would resort to traveling to the Big City and being slapped by offended women who they approach in their naive and guileless way with their sordid offer. And am I the only one tired of the Big City being depicted as a morass of immorality while the Small Town gets idealized into some romantic bubble of innocence? How innocent can it be with kids like Frank running loose (not to mention the one kid's dad who knows V from past experience)? Harris is adequate as Frank's clueless dad, but how disheartening that in a few years time Melanie Griffith went from her Oscar-nominated peak in Working Girl to this dismal development. Griffith looks tired and blowsy as V. She is also reduced to playing one nonsense scene (which truly makes no sense at all) wherein she shows up at Frank's school in a tight outfit so he can give an anatomy demonstration in class. The scene comes out of no where narratively, is not funny at all, and since the film has no nudity it serves no titillation purposes. One is just incredibly embarrassed for all involved.
Naturally, all of this ends with a madcap, badly done car chase with the kids frantically driving V to safety from associated villains, because what cheesy film does not have a car chase for no good reason. Similarly, to say the "happy" ending is beyond a stretch would be pointless.
Frank's father Tom Wheeler (Ed Harris) doesn't like to talk about his
dead mother. He is struggling to understand girls. With his two
friends, they decide to go to the city and pay to see a naked woman.
The boys get robbed in a parking lot only to be rescued by V (Melanie
Griffith). She happens to be a hooker and she flashes them her boobs.
Cash (Casey Siemaszko) is her pimp and Waltzer (Malcolm McDowell) is
his boss. The boys get their bikes stolen and V drives them home. Her
car breaks down and Frank tells his father that she's a math tutor.
He's a school teacher trying to save a tiny neighborhood wetland. She
ends up living in Frank's treehouse and Frank wants her to marry his
father. Cash stole money from Waltzer and is killed but only after
telling him that V has the money.
It's a strange thing to make a comedy about young kids and a hooker. It's not a kids movie but it's way too light weight to be anything else. The kids seem way too young to be so deep into sex education. A hooker in the suburb is an odd proposition already but director Richard Benjamin keeps trying to make this into a family movie ... with a lot of talk about sex. At some point, one would expect Melanie Griffith to button up her blouse at least. The problem is all the sex material is connected directly with little kids and any laughs from that are awkward at best.
I am always interested to see what actors can and will do in their work. I got such a strong Klute vibe from Ms. Griffith in the beginning of this movie. And it was nice to see Ed Harris just be Dad. The story itself is one of those adult fantasies that utilizes the kid mystique. Of course the-Hooker-and-the-Dad plays out an adult fantasy of its own. It turned out not to be a movie i would share with kids, in spite of its rating. It's a "yeah, sure" movie, white bread with way too much jam. BUT, i'm still glad i saw the work of the six pros who make it a viable (okay enjoyable--i enjoyed it)i'm-too-tired-tonight-to-move home entertainment. Yes, Virginia, there is a Hollywood.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film was trying too hard to be like the 1990's romantic comedy film, 'Pretty Woman', with its hooker with the heart of gold premise. It had some really awful delivery. This so called family movie was just uncomfortable to watch with your mom, dad, sibling, and grandparents. I felt dirty for just watching this film with them in the 1990s. Amazingly enough for the time, this script sold for over $1 million (which was at the time a record for a first-time screenwriter for John Mattson). Directed by Richard Benjamin, the movie partake in the lowest of lows stories, by having bunch of prepubescent boys lead by Frank Wheeler (Michael Patrick Carter) wanting to see a prostitute, V AKA Eve (Melanie Griffith) naked. Only for them, to later, want to convince V to date Frank's father, Tom (Ed Harris). Yes, that is the sleazy premise of this romantic comedy film! What an awkward watch! Not only, was the movie, very disturbing to watch, as a kid, but it wasn't funny at all. The jokes were a little too dark, or made little to no sense. Lots of inappropriate pedophile overtones jokes. Lots of jokes about young boys & girls, wanting to grow up, to be pimp & hookers. Yes, that's a great message for children. It was too disgustingly than funny. Also, the movie had some very painful badly written dialogue, delivered by some really poor acting. For me, this particularly comes from Melanie Griffith, who personally, for me, doesn't show, much range. I also never found her to be, really attractive, due to the effects of her drug and alcohol abuse, during the early and mid-1980s. Even in the early 1990s, you can tell, by her limited facial movements, that she got some really bad plastic surgery as well. She also a bit annoying with her soft nearly squeaky voice. Plus, I don't like how this movie didn't do any research in V's profession. I hate, how the film is saying that all prostitutes are working for the mob. A lot of them, are working for themselves, nor are they, sex slaves. Some of them, just do it, for kicks. I really don't like that clichés that every hooker is a trouble person. If anything save the movie for me; it's Ed Harris's performance. He was great as the clueless father. It's rare to see him, in a funny role. Ed Harris really needs to be, in more comedies. However, his character was bit, underdeveloped. The whole, saving the wetlands sub-plot really needed to be fresh out, more. It comes and disappears, as soon as that part is mention. Another character, in the film that was fun to see here is Waltzer (Malcolm McDowell). I know, a lot of people didn't like McDowell's Englishman accent performance here, but I found his short scenes to be one of the film highlights. He really seem somewhat wasted, by being limited. I wish, they just eliminated the Cash character (Casey Siemaszko) and gave it to Waltzer. He was fun as the villain for V and the children to face. The kid actors was also alright, despite their character not acting their age level. Like really, how can they be that clueless about sex education? It's weirder when the subplot about Frank failing Sex Ed is suddenly dropped once he brings V to his class room for show and tell. How on earth, did they get away with doing that? Why would V, even agree to something like that, if she's in hiding from the mob. Wouldn't she be arrest for trespassing on school grounds, label as a registered sex offender, or by now, murder by the mob that she's trying to run away? This film doesn't make any sense, because of things like that. I hate these stupid annoying children getting away with very unrealistic scheme clichés. If I did that, at his age, during school hours, I would find myself in juvenile prison for sure. Overall: While, this PG-13 movie has a lot of sexual innuendos, talks about private body parts, and others sexual things. The movie doesn't have any nudity. It's not like, I wanted to see Melanie Griffith naked, anyways. Overall: I don't mind, films for children trying to understand, their bodies and sex. However, this isn't the film for them. It's not mature enough to teach kids, nor funny enough to pass as a romantic comedy. I can't recommended watching it at all.
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