– by Cecily Knobler, Live from Hollywood –
Directed by Jodie Foster, Starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts
Sure, with a cast like Clooney and Roberts, it’s easy to get excited. But please don’t forget that Foster, while being an excellent actress, directed her seemingly BFF Mel Gibson in a movie where he plays a crazy man (autobiographical) who talks through a beaver puppet. A BEAVER PUPPET. Anyway, so now Foster is at the helm of Money Monster and in case you’re wondering, there’s no relation to Cookie Monster. Although wouldn’t that be fun if they were first cousins or something? (I’m really sorry I just compared Money Monster to Cookie Monster. I’m better than that. You’re all worthy of more!)
The basic logline is this: A “Jim Kramer”/Fox News type showman gives financial tips on television. One day an “average Joe” who, as it turns out, loses his life’s savings after using one of those tips, is (to paraphrase from the much superior film Network) “mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore!” So he does what any normal person would do: builds a bomb, sneaks into a TV station, places said bomb on TV host and starts yelling. Actually, the premise is quite timely. The execution of the film, however, is very 1980s.
The very good-looking, square-jawed Jack O’Connell plays the angry hostage taker. He’s so hot that you almost just want to tell the character, “Seriously dude, just go be a model. You’ll make back that 60 grand in no time!” O’Connell is a fine actor, but occasionally his English accent seeps through his very thick, contrived New York accent/performance. It almost seems like he studied De Niro with a splash of Ryan Gosling, who incidentally is from Canada. (Fun fact! I once read that Gosling just decided one day that he’d have a New York accent in real life and then just went with it. You know what? If we’re allowed to do that, then I think I choose Jamaican. From now on, I’m adding “mon” to all of my sentences. Don’t worry, you’ll love it, mon.)
So as I kept waiting for O’Connell to say “Badda Bing Badda Boom,” I noticed that even the extras or actors with small roles were all incredibly good looking. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a metaphor for the vapidity of the human condition. How social media has made us all flash-over-substance and A.D.D? Or perhaps Foster just likes good-looking actors? But from the cop with the porn mustache all the way up to the leads, (especially Roberts,) they were a joy to gawk at.
There’s a whole ridiculous subplot that I won’t go into to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say it’s laughable. However, if the goal of the film is to entertain in a satirical (albeit not-so-clever) way, it succeeded on some levels. Much of the dialogue is silly and you’ll probably forget the whole thing the second it’s over. But for a matinée perhaps. I’ve seen worse.
I’ll say it’s slightly above average, C+
Cecily Knobler is a writer, stand-up comedian and film reviewer for over 15 FM radio markets in the U.S. and Canada. Her new book Five Thousand Three Hundred Miles is available now on Amazon.
For more info, go to: www.cecilyknobler.com