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Mad Money

Comedy movie directed by Callie Khouri

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A Lesson in Greed

  • May 29, 2008
  • by
Mad Money is one of those movies that I really expected to like. I figured there was just no way to go wrong with a comedy that included the likes of Diane Keaton, Ted Danson, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes in its cast. But I was wrong; they managed to find a way.

The basic premise of the movie is a good one: a man (Ted Danson) nearing retirement age suddenly finds himself the victim of corporate downsizing and unable to find another job. He and his wife (Diane Keaton) have lived the good life for a long time and she is shocked when he confesses that they are in debt up to their eyeballs and about to lose the mansion they live in. In desperation, the Keaton character takes a janitor's job at a Federal Reserve Bank, where the sight of all that old, worn-out paper money headed for the shredder is more than she can stand.

Immediately coming up with a scheme to smuggle bundles of the old bills out of the bank, she is able to convince two key co-workers (Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes) to join her in what becomes an almost-daily bank robbery. The men in their lives, when they finally find out what is going on, are happy enough to go along for the ride.

The writers of this movie want viewers to see this as some kind of victimless crime. After all, the money the women steal is going to be destroyed anyway and the member banks have already received replacement currency. That idea would supposedly allow viewers to see the thieves and their men as sympathetic (and funny) characters. And, in the case of the Queen Latifah character, a single mother who agrees to play a key role in the thefts in order to get cash to put her two sons into a private school, I did feel some sympathy.

But it didn't work as regards the other two ladies, especially the Keaton character that displays a huge amount of greed and manages to bully everyone else into continuing the scam even when everyone involved wants to walk away from the crime but her. My dislike of that character will be what I remember most about what should have been a light-hearted comedy.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the Ted Danson and Queen Latifah performances, as well as those of two members of the supporting cast, Roger Cross and Stephen Root. In fact, Root, as the bank manager, has one of the funniest roles in the movie. The quality of the DVD itself is good, both the picture and the sound, and while there are not many DVD special features, it does include commentary from the director and a "making of" feature.

On the negative side, the movie's ending felt like an afterthought that was tacked onto it at the last minute and the Keaton character was extremely irritating. The movie has some funny moments that would have been greatly helped by a "softening" of that character. All in all, not a terrible movie, but one that's not what it could have been.

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More Mad Money reviews
review by . September 26, 2008
A great cast delivers a fun, funny and suspenseful little movie about an upper middle-class couple that have fallen on their version of "hard times." Wifey (Diane Keaton) re-enters the workforce in order to help make ends meet....only to find that due to spending decades as a housewife, she is not qualified to do anything. Finally she lands a job at the Federal Reserve as a janitor...where she discovers, to her horror, that money that is deemed "old" is taken out of circulation and shredded. It …
review by . July 11, 2008
If you can get beyond the totally amoral characters who let justified/rationalized greed run rampant within their lives, you might enjoy this movie. Especially if you are a fan of Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes and/or Ted Danson.    Mad Money is kind of a girlfriend/chick-lit version of Oceans Eleven without all the skill and slickness. The characters pull off the impossible, but it helps that the head of the "bank" is a complete idiot (think single-minded focus stapler …
review by . May 27, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Whenever a movie begins at the end of a story I tend to get a little   cautious. After all, what's the point of going on a journey if the   destination is well known in advance. Okay, bad example. To be more   precise, what would the point be in watching "American Idol" if you knew   the winner at the beginning of the season? Rarely does this technique   work because it takes all the suspenseful wind out from under the sail.   This is a …
review by . May 26, 2008
This film has an entertaining premise and an excellent cast. Diane Keaton and Ted Danson play a couple used to a high class lifestyle who are now about to lose their home... so she gets a janitorial job which happens to be at the Federal Reserve Bank facility. She creates a scheme to snatch worn out bills that are about to be shredded and smuggle them out - since they don't officially exist anymore she figures its like recycling, a victimless crime. She needs accomplices, recruiting co-workers Queen …
review by . May 22, 2008
While I gave "Mad Money" four stars, it truly deserves a solid three-and-a-half stars (I round up as a rule). Diane Keaton heads up a great cast in this criminal comedy about three women who pull off the perfect crime at a federal reserve bank. Keaton plays Bridget Cardigan, a woman desperate for money when her husband Don (Ted Danson) fails to find work after losing his job. She takes a job as a janitor at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, where she concocts a scheme with single mother Nina …
review by . May 19, 2008
"Mad Money"    Stimulating Finances    Amos Lassen    In "Mad Money", Bridget Cardigan (Diane Keaton) is shocked to discover that she is about to lose her home and comfortable lifestyle when her husband, Don (Ted Dawson) is downsized from the job he has had for the last thirty years. Knowing this was coming, Don began looking for a job a year prior but with no luck. Bridget, who has virtually no skills but being a wife and a mother and …
About the reviewer
Sam Sattler ()
Oil company professional of almost 40 years experience who has worked in oil-producing countries around the world. I love books, baseball and bluegrass music and hope to dedicate myself to those hobbies … more
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Take three women in need of cash, a slew of money about to be shredded, and a plot that nicks a bit from 2005'sFun with Dick and Janeand you've gotMad Money. Diane Keaton stars as Bridget, a stay-at-home wife whose life as she knows it ends when her husband loses his cushy, high-paying job. Her college degree in literature turns out to be useless, so she accepts a janitorial position at the local bank. There she meets Nina (Queen Latifah) and Jackie (Katie Holmes), who could use some spare scratch as well. Suddenly, it dawns on Bridget that the bank has plenty of what they need: money! Because the gals are so cute and nice, it's clear they're not really going to rob the bank. What they will do, though, is take the old bills headed for the shredder and recycle it back into the economy by spending it. (Oh heck, they're basically stealing the money.) Played for laughs, the movie doesn't bother to discuss the economic ramifications of what would happen if too much money was recirculated, but that's neither here nor there. The trio of personable actors--particularly Keaton--does a good job of making the characters likable, even in some unbelievable situations. But Keaton deserves better thanMad Money, which isn't really funny enough to be a comedy and doesn't have enough romance to qualify as good chick flick. Still, Keaton, Latifah and Holmes share warm camaraderie. It'd be fun to see them reunited in a film that had a little more weight to it. Ironically,Mad Moneywas directed by...
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Director: Callie Khouri
Genre: Comedy
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Anchor Bay - ITN
First to Review

"Stimulating Finances"
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