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.