Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mad Money Review

I'm usually a sucker for a heist movie, both the good (Catch Me If Your Can) and not so good (After the Sunset), but Mad Money tried even my tolerance. It's a by-the-numbers affair with mediocre performances and poor production values. Foolish is the filmmaker' s decision to open the film with the various players already in police custody. Not only does the film lose that wonderful sense of 'can they really get away with it?!?' you hope for in a heist flick but it just makes everything so damn joyless - which is especially problematic in a heist film meant to be humorous.

Diane Keaton comes off as neither disinterested in the material not particularly invested in it. Her character is foolhardy, frustrating and basically unlikeable. I'm not so sure that anyone could have done anything with this role to save it. Queen Latifah, though she has a few moments that merit interest - when she lectures her children about not growing up to be criminals for instance - but on the whole is just playing herself. Much my to my shock the cyborg that has replaced Katie Holmes actually gives the best performance. Playing a free-spirited, though not particularly aloof, heist member, Holmes actually breathes life into her scenes. Her sense of comedic timing is spot on and helps make the whole ordeal somewhat tolerable. The supporting players are awful, with the exception of Roger Cross (Curtis Manning on 24) who at least seems to try. Ted Danson's performance as Keaton's recently jobless husband is embarrassing, especially considering his strong recent work on F/X's Damages.

Though it seems to be positioning itself as some sort of female empowerment film, Mad Money fails horribly in that regard. The film's moral seems to be that by acting amorally, but sticking it to the men, opens the route to a woman's success and independence. Now I'm not a woman, but that fails to really seem like the message you want to deliver. I can't really recommend this to anyone, not to heist fans, not to fans of the actors involved and certainly not to the average filmgoer.

Overall Score: 3/10

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