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Mad Money (2008) - Plot Summary Poster

(2008)

Plot

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Summaries

  • Three female employees of the Federal Reserve plot to steal money that is about to be destroyed.

  • Don and Bridget Cardigan's upper middle class lifestyle is threatened since Don, who has been out of work for a year, seems to have given up looking for a job, and housewife Bridget has been out of the workforce for most of her life. They are close to $300,000 in debt. Finding out this information, Bridget comes to the conclusion that she needs to get a job - any job - that at least provides them with some benefits. She reluctantly takes a job as a janitor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Almost immediately, Bridget is enthralled with all the old worn out money that is being shredded. She comes up with a plan to get her old lifestyle back by stealing much of that money, which she believes is an easy job since the locks used on the money carts are standard equipment and as she notices that no one ever checks the garbage as she goes about her work. Her plan needs the cooperation of one person who works the shredder and one person who pushes the carts of money. The two people she co-opts are single mom Nina Brewster and diabetic, trailer living and constant music listening Jackie Truman. Jackie is easy to convince, but Nina is only convinced when Bridget brings it to her attention that the money would allow her to provide a better education to her two bright sons. Nina vows to kill Bridget if she ever loses her children because of this scheme. As the three woman progress with the plan, it is threatened by: the bank's head of security, a man named Glover, who believes it is impossible to steal money from the reserve; another security guard at the reserve named Barry who seems to be attracted to Nina; Jackie's working class husband Bob who is not used to having money; Don, a conservative man who can't understand being on the wrong side of the law; and Bridget herself who seems to be increasingly focused on getting more and more money with no end in sight, which seems to be diverging from the priorities of her two accomplices.

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  • With their house repossessed, her husband recently downsized and the debts in bank rapidly piling up, Bridget Cardigan, a rich housewife, after nearly thirty years of high-class living, needs to start from scratch and look for a job. As a result, Bridget, having no other choice, she will accept a job as a cleaner at the Kansas City Federal Reserve where, much to her surprise, an unsuspected, yet serious flaw in the security system exists. Suddenly, Bridget is tempted to return to her good old life, and without delay, she hatches a daring plan to get her hands on the mounts of worn-out cash with the help of two eager co-workers, Nina and Jackie. However, there is no such thing as a fail-proof scheme.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film begins close to the end of the story, when the suspects get caught and are interrogated. Then it flashes back to three years earlier and proceeds forward from there, interspersed with occasional bits from the interrogation.

    Three years before getting caught, Bridget (Diane Keaton) lived a comfortable life until her husband Don (Ted Danson) was fired from his position and sunk into debt. The paycheck for Selina, the cleaning lady, bounces again. Selina confronts Bridget and suggests she take a job as a janitor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    On her first day on the job, Bridget hatches a scheme to steal damaged dollar bills slated for destruction. For her team she chooses Nina (Queen Latifah), who works the dollar bill shredder, and Jackie (Katie Holmes), who takes bill carts from the Secret Service room to the shredding room. It takes some work to convince Nina to join, but Jackie joins them quickly.

    The plan is that in the Secret Service room, Bridget will switch a cart's official Master-brand lock with a near-identical lock she purchased at Home Depot. Bridget will tell Jackie the cart number and give Nina the official lock. When Jackie gets the chosen cart, she dumps some bills from it into a trash can before taking it to Nina, who then uses Bridget's key to open it, replaces the official lock, and proceeds to shred the remaining bills. Meanwhile, Bridget, in the course of her janitorial duties, retrieves the dumped bills from the trash and splits them among Nina and Jackie in the restroom.

    While a success, the take from their first robbery is not as big as they had hoped. However, they're emboldened to do it again and again. Once Don and Bridget pay off their debt, Don suggests they stop before they get caught. Bridget rejects this idea and convinces Nina and Jackie to keep going. They almost get caught, but they fold in one of the cops.

    A Federal Bank Examiner shows up at a party at Bridget's house, and the next day Bridget sees him at work. The Examiner confronts Glover (Stephen Root), who is unwilling to admit anyone has stolen a single bill out of his bank as a matter of professional pride. Tipped off, that night Bridget and her accomplices begin trying to get rid of all the loot stashed in their houses, but the cops move in before all the evidence is destroyed. Bridget escapes but the others get caught.

    Bridget hires a tax attorney to defend them, and he gets Bridget and all her accomplices off the hook for their crimes. However, the IRS demands they pay their taxes, which turn out to be equal to the money that remains. They walk away free yet penniless.

    Eight months later, Bridget reveals to Nina and Jackie that she stashed away a lot of the stolen money in the basement of a friend's bar.

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