Hot Take: Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief for a movie to work. With Money Monster, you have to hold disbelief at gunpoint, put a bomb vest on it and threaten to blow it up and disbelief still won’t stand down.
The late 90s and early 2000s brought us a lot of movies like Money Monster. Remember The Negotiator? Remember John Q? Remember 16 Blocks? Remember The Interpreter? Those all have a lot in common with Money Monster from a sense of tone, pace, tension and also suffer from being ridiculously unbelievable. It’s the downfall of Money Monster. It’s a movie that works if you watch it, enjoy the performances, get wrapped up in the drama and don’t think about the plot.
One problem: Money Monster won’t let you not think about the plot because it’s trying to make a statement about the corruption our financial institutions suffer from. So, while you’re thinking about the situation the main characters (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) are in and deciding whether or not the hostage-taker (Jack O’Connell) is a bad guy or a good guy doing a bad thing, you have to wade through some pretty convoluted and ridiculous twists and turns that just don’t add up.
Give Clooney and Roberts a lot of credit for carrying this movie with strong performances. If you can forgive Clooney for a ridiculously over-the-top impression of Jim Cramer, of course. O’Connell as the down on his luck, desperate hostage taker has some moments. The rest of the cast is serviceable with Caitriona Balfe standing out a little bit.
Notice there’s not a lot of mention of plot points and names in this review. While that’s usually on the sparse side anyway at Movie Hot Take, it’s necessary here as the less you think about what this movie is trying to say, the more likely you’ll enjoy the movie. While it’s hard to believe, it’s even harder to think about. Save the social commentary on t for movies like The Big Short or 99 Homes. Money Monster asks too much of us to ignore to make it’s message credible or even coherent.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Clooney & Roberts
George Clooney and Julia Roberts play off each other so well. Their scenes work so well together and are a pleasure to watch. They can only do so much to carry the movie but they take it as far as it can possibly go.
- The Real Time Element Works
The movie is told in real time which also works really well here. Most importantly, it keeps the movie moving and keeps the overall run time short. Those are positives when you’re trying to avoid the massive leaks caused by the movie’s plot holes.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Bearish On Reality
Maybe if the movie was set in a different time but is anyone buying how easily a delivery driver can get into a cable network’s live set in 2016? This is just one of many examples of a total distortion of reality Money Monster has in store for it’s viewer.
- That Jim Cramer Impression Though
Clooney does a lot of things right in Money Monster. That Jim Cramer impression, while spot on, isn’t one of them. Those types of performances should be reserved for the last skit on Saturday Night Live while promoting a better movie.