Review: Mad Money
Plot: Upper Class sub-urbanite Bridget (Diane Keaton), is forced back into the work force when her husband Don (Ted Danson) loses his job. She's hired as a cleaning woman at the Federal Reserve Bank, where she meets Nina (Queen Latifah), a hard working single mom who spends her day shredding bills that have gone out of circulation. Bridget & Nina eventually hatch a plan to steal these out of date bills. They enlist the aid of Jackie (Katie Holmes), an klutzy young woman who's responsible for the old money cart. After a successful heist- the gang thinks they've discovered a fool-proof way to steal money. They soon discover that the scheme is not as fool-proof as they thought.
Review: Ready for a shocker? Mad Money actually doesn't suck!
Naturally I went in expecting the worst. I'm not a big Katie Holmes fan (I thought she was the only bad thing about BATMAN BEGINS), and the previews were underwhelming to say the least. The film doesn't start off very good, with Keaton doing her typical neurotic suburban mom shtick- but once the heist gets under way, the film is actually pretty darn entertaining.
I think the key to my enjoyment of the film is that the central premise- the theft old currency, and the way the threesome goes about their crime is actually pretty clever. It's like DEAD PRESIDENTS for the Martha Stewart set.
I also thought the cast was above average. Holmes got on my nerves as usual, but Diane Keaton is reliable as always. I always thought she seemed like a smart lady off screen, so I had no trouble buying her as an unlikely criminal mastermind. Queen Latifah also does well with her role, turning in a nicely subdued performance. The film is a big step up for Latifah- as she's made more than her fair share of turkeys over the last few years. I totally bought her as an inner city working mom, and I thought she brought a lot of heart to her role. I also liked Ted Danson as Keaton's put upon husband. Unusual for a guy in a chick flick- he actually gets quite a bit of screen time, and even gets in on the heist. The only problem is that after watching CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM whenever I see Danson these days I expect Larry David to pop up and start making fun of him.
While I enjoyed the film for the most part- there were a few things that bothered me. I though the boss at the Federal Reserve, played by Stephen Root- was way too slimey and unlikable. He also seemed way to unintelligent to be running the Federal Reserve- and never for a second do we doubt that he'll be outsmarted at every turn by Keaton & co. I also though the film got a little to clever for it's own good towards the end, and the final scene in the film seemed tacked on.
Overall- I wouldn't recommend catching this film in theaters as there's a lot of good films out there that deserve your movie going dollars more than this one. Still- for a chick flick it's actually not bad at all. It's definitely a big step up from 27 DRESSES or P.S I LOVE YOU. If in a few months you see this movie sitting on the shelves at Blockbuster, and you want something light and undemanding- give it a look. You could do worse.
My Grade: 6/10
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