Review: Money Monster

By Christian DiMartino

The tagline for Jodie Foster’s new film Money Monster says that “Not Every Conspiracy is a Theory.” Well, I beg to differ. I have a few.

Here’s one: if they play the hell out of a movie trailer at the movies, if they REALLY wanna sell you on it… chances are, they’re trying to sell a turkey. Money Monster was one of those cases. Since I do go a lot, it came to the point where anytime a trailer came on, I would walk out.

Here’s another: if there aren’t reviews out before the day before a movies’ release, chances are… it’s a turd. For example, take last year’s unfortunate Aloha. I was unaware of the leaked email saying the damn thing didn’t make any sense (the dumb hoe at Sony was right about that), but I mean, there was Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride, Bill Murray, and the once great Cameron Crowe behind the camera? Should’ve been a gold mine. I found it strange though, that there were no reviews out… until the day before its release. The results? A disaster, and that’s just what Aloha was. Money Monster also didn’t unveil any reviews until yesterday.

But I’ll be damned if both of my conspiracies (or theories) were proved wrong. Money Monster is a solid directorial effort from Foster. I should’ve known better, really. George Clooney and Julia Roberts, for the most part, don’t do bad movies. They’ve reached a point in their career where we don’t expect mediocrity, and thankfully, they always provide strong work here.

Clooney plays Lee Gates, an obnoxious host of a stock market related show called “Money Monster.” Roberts plays Patty, who sits in a booth and directs (speaking into his ear and what not). One day while filming the show, an unexpected visitor (Jack O’Connell) arrives, pointing a gun at Lee, and forces him to put on a vest… with a bomb on it. Yikes.

He then says that unless he gets $800,000,000, he’s gonna blow him to hell (not literally… perverts). We come to find out that this stranger’s name is Kyle, and that he invested $60,000 in a company that Lee insisted on. O’Connell’s performance is fine, though I found his accent a bit distracting. I also must point out this: throughout the movie, he insists that he’s smart. Okay, so, if you’re so smart, then why did you trust this guy’s word? If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do that too? Luckily though, the film points this out, in the film’s best scene.

At times I felt like Money Monster was trying to juggle too much, in terms of what it was trying to get across. It’s at once a commentary on the times, and also a hostage thriller, and a drama, and and and… but whatever. For the most part, it works all around. I also wasn’t exactly a fan of the scenes in which it shows the viewers’ reactions to what’s happening on TV. It felt… corny.

Clooney and Roberts are as expected. When the film’s narrative doesn’t pull through, they always do. Foster, a great actress herself, knows how to bring out the best in her stars (in case you missed her last directorial effort The Beaver, she had Mel Gibson talk to and as a Beaver puppet… it was his best performance in years). She also has a good sense of timing and executing scenes well.

I liked Money Monster, more than I was initially expecting. The trailer didn’t really sell me, and it went through that whole Aloha thing. But yet it pulled through. It may not be as huge as last week’s Captain America: Civil War, but they both do share a common superpower:

Starpower.

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