All About the Benjamins
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A struggling bounty hunter pairs up with a low-rent con artist to retrieve $20 million worth of diamonds…and a lottery ticket worth another $60 million.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If you go into this flick expecting to dislike it (as I was), you’re probably in for a little surprise. Sure, it’s entirely unoriginal and wholly familiar, but there’s enough in All About the Benjamins to enjoy – in a B-movie kinda way – if you’re not expecting too much. Those who enjoyed the urban odd couple interplay between Ice Cube and Mike Epps in NEXT FRIDAY will certainly have a better time than the rest of us, but casual viewers may also find themselves enjoying the casual tone and laid-back humor. The plot matters very little, except that it gives our two heroes a framework in which to hang a few action scenes and lot of comically stressful situations. One of the movie’s best points is that it allowed our heroes’ lady friends take the spotlight from time to time. Eva Mendes (playing Epps’ sweet-natured and astronomically understanding girlfriend) steals just about every scene she’s in, while Valerie Rae Miller (as Cube’s doting gal-pal) adds some snarky attitude in her few moments. Cube and Epps will never be mistaken for the next Abbott & Costello, but the guys have a breezy, loose and humorously profane chemistry together.
The film is an entirely disposable comedy/action flick, one that you’ll barely remember in a week’s time – but it’s certainly not an awful movie. Director Kevin Bray (making his debut; veteran of several music videos) may want to reign in his hyperkinetic mega-edit style of presenting an action scene for his next projects, but he also presents the city of Miami in beautiful style and keeps the movie as a whole moving at along at a brisk clip. AL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS is nothing new, and it’s often a sloppy and muddled tale – but there are much worse ways to spend a random 90 minutes. It’s a derivative little B-movie, but it’s a fairly entertaining little genre flick, too – and given the amount of pure garbage hitting movie screens these days, a B-movie that manages to be a little entertaining deserves a small pat on the back for getting something right.
As is almost always the case, New Line Home Video offers a solid collection of goodies, though the full-length audio commentary (with director Kevin Bray and producer Matt Alvarez seemingly under the impression that they’re creating high art) leaves much to be desired. Next up are four featurettes: Shot Callers: From Videos to Features, a surprisingly compelling feature which focuses on the pressures involved in the directorial leap from rock videos to feature films, Strictly Business: Making the Benjamins, which is your basic Electronic Press Kit presentation (of interest solely to those who adore this film); Miami Nice: Production Design which pays some attention to the beautiful Miami settings and the general look of the flick; last up is All About the Stunts…which is a fairly self-explanatory title.
Also included is one deleted scene, a fitfully amusing Gag Reel, a music video for Trina’s “Told Y’all”, a pair of theatrical trailers, and a ‘theatrical press kit’ which includes production notes, and some unusually lengthy cast & crew bios.
Fans of the Cube will enjoy it best; anyone else may enjoy it as a rainy-afternoon flick or a late-night cable option.