Review: Money Monster

Score: B+

Director: Jodie Foster

Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Caitriona Belfe

Running Time: 98 Minutes

Rated: R

Money Monster's trailers threatened to give too much away. Luckily, there's a lot more to the film than what those two minutes reveal. Its biggest surprise is not a twist ending, but a completely different tone than advertised. Inside its black heart, Money Monster is an often-hilarious dark comedy.  That director Jodie Foster manages to pull off a wryly comic tone while keeping the life-or-death stakes high is an incredible feat.

George Clooney plays Lee Gates, in a role that fits him like a glove. Gates hosts the irreverent stock tip show Money Monster, which features scantily clad dancers and sound effects in addition to his financial advice. Julia Roberts, also in her zone, plays his long-suffering producer Patty. They're only minutes into their Friday broadcast when a gunman (Jack O'Connell) enters and forces Lee to put on a bomb vest. Turns out this is Kyle, who lost his life savings on a bad tip from Lee.

While tension is high in the studio (and outside where the NYPD is working on getting the hostages out), there's another mystery to figure out. How exactly, did a company lose $800 million overnight? That's where the reliable supporting cast comes in, including Christopher Denham (Argo) and Caitriona Belfe (Outlander). In fact, the whole cast is filled with terrific character actors like Lenny Venito (The Sopranos) and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad).

While the movie strains the limits of believability in its third act, it's still entertaining throughout and finds plenty of dark laughs in the tension, along with several accurate – if heavy-handed – observations about greed and ignorance.

Amidst the blockbusters of the summer, it's very likely Money Monster will be ignored by audiences. But again, this is another movie made by and for thinking adults, and that's a beast that should be fed.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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