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My friend and I were looking for a movie to see this weekend and Mad
Money was the only movie that looked like fun. When we finished the
movie, the audience was happy and we were happy, this was a fun and
cute movie. So I have to say that I am very very surprised by this
harsh rating on IMDb, I mean, a 4.4?! You have got to be kidding me,
this is by no means movie of the year, but for what it was, this was
just a fun comedy to watch. There wasn't any major problems with this
movie that deserves that kind of a rating that makes it look like the
first major flop of the year. Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie
Holmes were absolutely adorable together and had great chemistry. They
made the story an Oceans Eleven for the girls, sounds like such a chick
flick, but I think this is one that most could actually enjoy.
Bridget and her husband, Dan are in major debt, really bad debt, like 282,000 dollars in debt. They are about to loose everything they own, so Bridget gets a job as a janitor for the financial bank. When she notices the ultimate torture of how they shred worn out money, she gets a clever idea with the help of two other girl employees, Nina and Jackie, to find a way to break the system and get that money to get out of their poor situations. Once they get what they need, Bridget is so satisfied with how smooth everything went, she wants more and they go for it, but they should learn not to get so greedy since someone is on their tale.
Mad Money is a chick flick, but it's one of the rare one's that I liked. I didn't think there was anything wrong with this film. I think they could have explained the situation with the boss of the bank a little better, I don't know if he was in on it or what, but it's something that could slide I think. Queen Latifah was just so funny and Diane Keaton was a perfect choice for Bridget, Katie Holmes was pretty decent for the comic relief. Please don't take the rating on IMDb seriously, I think that Mad Money was just a fun little comedy that deserves a better chance.
"Mad Money" has reasonable entertainment value, great characters, and
even a nice little unexpected twist at the end to satisfy the escapist
movie-goer. The essential plot of Mad Money is not that original as
heist movies go. The formula usually goes something like this: the
characters are in a bad financial or similar situation, they find out
about some booty supposedly completely unobtainable, devise a scheme to
lift the booty which has some intriguing element(s) to it, and then go
about getting the booty. Along the way there are some twists and turns
to keep it interesting. If it's too easy, it won't work. Part of the
fun is whether or not they will get away with it, and how they will do
it. Heist movies are almost a dime a dozen these days, with fair such
as "Oceans 11" (both the old and the new versions), its subsequent
sequels, "Heist", "The Score", etc.
What gives "Mad Money" a unique flavor is the characters who enact the heist, essentially the Neapolitan kind: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Most Hollywood heist movies star middle-aged men devising elaborate schemes requiring PhD's to perpetrate the heist. In "Mad Money", the team of schemers are three women working at below-sea-level jobs at the Federal Reserve building: a white grandmother of the upper middle-class variety (Diane Keaton), a middle-aged African-American single mother trying to stay above water (Queen Latifah, who actually stuffs packs of bills into a large shredding machine), and Katie Holmes as a 20-something scatter-brain who will probably lose the better part of her hearing by movie's end. How Holmes ever landed a position at the Federal Reserve is one of the many intriguing mysteries of the movie. A rather unlikely swashbuckling gang of hoodlums who sport wash cloths and garbage bags instead of swords.
Keaton and Latifah have the most at stake in their interesting idea for a financial stimulus package: to lift ragged and torn bills from the Federal Reserve before they are about to be shredded. In other words, stealing money that really isn't money. However, I wouldn't try this at home. Year-round, the Federal Reserve acquires tons and tons of ragged and worn bills from banks and other large financial institutions and swaps them for new crisp clean bills. The ragged bills go by way of the shredding and pulping machines.
How they pull off the heist sort of works, although it does fray into a little bit of the fantastic as stealing from a Federal Governmental agency like the Federal Reserve is sort of akin to trying to raise the Titanic. It probably ain't gonna happen. However, a unique chemistry between the actors somehow makes the movie work, and the writers took the story seriously enough to give a lot of unexpected laughs, the way comedies of this type should be written. In other words, luckily the writers didn't try to make the movie "funny".
On a final note, the outstanding talent of the cast has to be Queen Latifah who does an excellent job of portraying a single mom who wants the booty but has ambivalence about the entire scheme. In fact the entire cast is excellent, with Diane Keaton believable as the guiding force behind the heist, and Ted Danson as her bewildered husband. My only criticism is that I would have liked a little more of a hint regarding the twist at the end which did come out of left field. Enjoyable and worth the price of admission, although I doubt I will shell out another 20 bucks for the DVD.
Bridget (Diane Keaton) is a gracious matron with a lovely home. Yet, her world turns upside-down when her husband (Ted Danson) loses his job. Suddenly, bills are piling up and there is no solution in sight. Needing to maintain her lifestyle, Bridget takes a job as a custodial worker for the local branch of the federal mint. Now, she has the health care coverage she needs and the means to pay her creditors. But, she wants more, especially considering the menial tasks she is asked to perform and the smug attitude of the mint's bossman. Being a tough and smart cookie, Bridget hatches an elaborate plot to help herself to some of the worn-out bills that are headed for the shredder. But, in order for the scheme to work, she needs the aid of Nina (Queen Latifah), who operates one of the shredders, and Jackie (Katie Holmes), whose task it is to transport the cart of paper money to and fro. They agree, after some initial reluctance, to become Bridget's partners in crime, for Nina wants to send her two little boys to a fine school and Jackie has a need for some excitement. But, will they really be able to pull one over on the Feds? This is really a fairly funny movie, with a great plot and a nice cast. Keaton, especially, is fabulous as the conniving, high maintenance housewife and the Queen is equally wonderful as a single mother with big dreams. Danson, Christopher McDonald and the lesser players are fine, too. Only Holmes strikes a flat note, as her Jackie is rather forgettable. Since Katie has shown she is a fine actress (see Pieces of April or Abandon), one can only conclude that the director failed her miserably. Then, too, she sports an awful hair style and terrible costumes throughout the film as well. This is most odd, for Keaton and Latifah look great. Although the sets are not noteworthy, they are certainly adequate, as is the look of the film. If you have heard that this film is a bomb, don't believe it. While it may not be a masterpiece, it definitely has its funny moments and zany charm, more than enough, in fact, to make it a worthwhile watch.
Directed by Callie Khouri (best known for writing the famous Ridely
Scott film "Thelma & Louise"), Mad Money tells the story of three women
working at the Kansas Federal Reserve Bank (though the movie was shot
in Louisiana) who work out a system to steal money that is about to be
shredded. Obviously, stuff happens.
Mad Money is far from being the best heist film out there. Recent efforts such as After The Sunset, The Italian Job, The Thomas Crown Affair, Entrapment or The Ladykillers are all much cooler. But just as Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's" series is extremely overrated, this widely panned film is quite underrated. Actually, though it is central to the plot, the movie doesn't really focus on the heist element that much preferring to stick with character interactions and light comedy. Here also it's far from the funniest movie out there, but the humor is pleasant and harmless.
The acting is pretty good all around. Diane Keaton is certainly better here than in her horrible performance in the previous year's Because I Said So, and while some may find baffling that Katie Holmes chose this over The Dark Knight, she certainly does a better job here at playing a ditz than her uselessness in Batman Begins. Who knows? Maybe she just doesn't like Batman, maybe she wanted a role that would center more on her, maybe she just loves Thelma & Louise and is willing to have a lower paycheck, which, being married to Tom Cruise, she can totally afford to do. Queen Latifah is her usual self and it's always cool to see Ted Danson and Christopher McDonald (even if it's little more than a glorified cameo).
The movie has flaws yes, and shouldn't really show up on anyone's top 10 or top 200 list. The flashback narration doesn't really work that well and the ending is pretty ludicrous, but what the hell it's just a movie folks. I don't think anyone involved in the making of Mad Money declared that this movie will radically change your views on life. It's just simple harmless entertainment, something pleasant to watch if you stumble upon it.
The overwhelming feeling of disappointment after walking out of this
film is that this film could have been much more. The caper at the
heart of "Mad Money" most closely resembles "The Inside Man", director
Spike Lee's under appreciated masterpiece bank robbery film. However,
the films could not be more different. Spike Lee was smart and
experienced enough to know that even with a great cast and clever
caper, you need a vision to bring out greatness. Mr. Lee also knew that
you must choose a style.
Director Kallie Khouri, best known for writing and producing the feminist cult classic "Thelma & Louise" failed in every conceivable way - she demonstrates no eye for cinematography, a tin ear for dialogue, no timing for pacing, no point of view, and no talent for directing actors.
"Mad Money" is based on an British caper television movie "Hot Money", produced by Granada Television. The screenplay translation to America was written by Glenn Gers, whose best known screenplay to date was "Fracture" staring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. Mr. Gers failed miserably to take any chances. A more talented writer would have created the characters from whole cloth, rather than substituting American stereotypes; in "Mad Money" there is the head-bopping early twenty-something, the black single mother in the projects, and the upper middle class desperate housewife. There is no excuse for laziness. If Mr. Gers had create real people, then perhaps he wouldn't have created characters that came out of other people's poor imagination. Writing requires an understanding of humanity and cannot be faked. The screenplay for "Mad Money" had not one shred of genuine emotion. Spare me the notion that these characters were suppose to be light and frothy drawbacks to characters like in the caper classic "Ladykillers" with Sir Alec Guinness. There were just about 3 laughs in the entire picture. If I ever was so lucky to have a cast with Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton, I'd be embarrassed that I had put such a blemish on their filmographies, by giving them so little to make great.
No comedy, no drama, no thrills, no real danger, and no romance creates no film worth watching. I wish they could have afforded Carrie Fisher to doctor this screenplay and imbue it with a glint of genuine greed or true wit or anything that would have made this film any more watchable.
I also wish that the studio would have kept Ms. Khouri in the producer's chair, and brought in a director who knew how to fix a script, bring style, rather than shoot from an anywhere goes point of view, and attempt to make something memorable.
While I really love Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah, I was not
particularly excited about Mad Money. It looked really mediocre, and
though I was expecting to be entertained, I was not expecting it to be
as fun and interesting as it ended up being. It is a really underrated
and funny movie that is an all around great time from beginning to end
that I am glad I had the chance of seeing.
While the movie is not exceedingly hilarious, it has it's shining moments of brilliance from the wonderful cast. All the actors and actresses pull off the characters perfectly, giving the film a lovable and bubbly atmosphere. It's extremely interesting too. I could never look away, because I was so interested in the plot; they set everything up really well and the movie was nicely paced with some fun and surprising twists and turns that keep the viewer on edge.
Like I said, easily the best thing about this movie is it's performances which ultimately make the only decent movie otherwise more than decent and highly rewatchable, and the cast pull off the material that could be seen as poor amazingly and overall make the movie worth the while. I enjoyed it highly, and like I said, I wish more people would see it and not be so critical on it. It is entertainment at it's most charming, even if it is not a masterpiece.
An Oscar winning actress (Keaton), an Oscar nominated actress (Latifah), and the current spouse of an Oscar nominated actor (Holmes) shine in this delightful comedy/crime film as three employees of a federal reserve who plot to steal a large sum of disposable cash. This is a simple movie, nothing more nothing less. It offers inconsistent and infrequent laughs, while providing a thrill to the audience. Though I am not familiar with director Callie Khouri who apparently won an Oscar, the cast of this movie was compelling, from Diane Keaton to Ted Danson, from Katie Holmes to Queen Latifah. A renowned cast saved this film from being a total disaster with a witty and fitting performance. As far as the content of the movie It is nothing more than what a regular movie goer might expect it to be. A heist gone bad, but with no blood and violence....Just plain comedy. However, this is an unusual idea for a movie, because I am sure it would not be attempted in real life, and even if it is, I am positive that the schemers will not get that far.. A nice and enjoyable film worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Synopsis) Bridget Cardigan (Diane Keaton) is a dedicated mother and
corporate wife living in an upper middle class neighborhood when her
husband Don (Ted Danson) is downsized from his job of 30 years. Don has
been looking for a job for a whole year. With the threat of losing
everything, Bridget must find a job. She has an English Lit degree, but
no job experience. She finally takes the only job that she can find as
a janitor at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. The one-time
corporate wife now works with Nina (Queen Latifah), a single mom with
two kids who shreds old money, and Jackie (Katie Holmes), young,
beautiful, and a little strange, who moves the money cart. Every day
the bank shreds over a million dollars. Bridget begins to think of what
she can do with some of that old money, and she comes up with a plan.
Bridget needs Nina and Jackie for the plan to work. They all join
forces and start taking home the money. These three women have pulled
off the perfect crime.
(My Comment) This movie is a good example of what three average women who have learned to work the system for their own advantage can do when they want something bad enough even though it is illegal. It also shows you what will eventually happen when you have enough money and should stop, but greed sets in. Diane Keaton was wonderful in her part as a stay at home wife who must get a job to survive. Life can be hard when the breadwinner losses his job. Everybody already knows that the difference between a bum and a respected person is a job. These three women had a job; however, they turned to the life of crime only to get what they did not earn. I know it is only a movie, but working for your money is important, especially since Nina had two kids at home. Queen Latifah's performance was convincing and at times touching. Katie Holmes' performance was funny, but a little unusual. It is an enjoyable movie, but you can wait for the DVD to come out. (Overturn Films, Run Time 1:44, Rated PG-13)(5/10)
Mad Money was mildly entertaining...very mildly. It can't seem to
muster the energy to be more so. Because of the movie's structure, you
more-or-less know where the movie's headed and you basically just have
to sit and see how it gets there. Along the way, the characters are
making what seem to be really obvious mistakes that any law-enforcement
official with a lick of sense would catch on to in no time.
The main characters are pretty nonchalant about stealing gobs of money, and the supposedly vigilant security staff is equally blasé - barely expending the energy to raise an inquiring eyebrow when they see suspicious behavior. Significant others are also pretty halfhearted in their attempts to point out the negative consequences of their loved ones' behavior, and end up just going with the felonious flow.
Why not rent a copy of the Italian Job or Ocean's Eleven instead?
I was expecting to start watching this movie then switch it off. Yes my expectations were low. However this little movie was great, not great art but a great pleasure to watch. I am no fan of any of the three leading actresses but they made this a joy to watch. Ted Danson (who I could never warm to in Cheers) impresses me with his timing and (in Damages) his acting talent. The story is simply told and is absorbing, entertaining and (unusually for a modern comedy) funny. Not uproariously but it made me smile on many occasions. The viewer cares about the characters and what happens to them and that is a testament to the writing and direction. It is not the best comedy I have ever seen nor the best heist movie but the sum is greater than the parts. Keaton was very good and Queen Latifah was terrific support. I recommend this for a pleasant way to pass an hour or so.
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