Written by Glenn Gers and John Mister
Directed by Callie Khouri
Running Time: 1:44
for sexual material and language,
and brief drug references.
Mad Money was an enjoyable enough comedy that had an unlikely story marred mostly by the paint-by-numbers ending.
When her husband loses his job and their way of life is threatened, Bridget Cardigan gets a job as a cleaning lady inside a Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas. After being there for a few minutes, she concocts a plan to steal large stacks of money that would otherwise be shredded. She needs help though and reaches out to Nina, a single mother of two and the woman who shreds the money, and Jackie, a ditzy young married girl who is the one who transports the money. Together they manage to steal millions without getting caught. Little to they know that there is someone on their trail and when the heat starts to rise, the women must decide whether to fight or fly away into the night.
Apparently Mad Money is based on a true story that took place in England years ago. I'm not sure how much is real and how much is made up, but I thought the story was a little preposterous. The timeline within the money basically had this random woman, who hadn't worked for decades, show up as a cleaning lady and put together a plan to steal money from a place that was under constant surveillance. I can see something like this happening if someone had been working there for years, learning the ins and outs of the place, but she literally started to put the plan together within minutes of her arrival. Then she reached out for help and found it almost immediately and didn't seem to have to do much convincing. Even when initially caught by a friendly security guard, they never let up and just invited him to join them. Everything seemed to come extremely easy. Then towards the end when they're finally caught for good, you just knew we were headed towards a happy-go-lucky ending where everyone walked free. And surprise, surprise, that's what happened. So based on a true story or not, the plot felt extremely contrived and non-realistic.
That being said, the movie was still entertaining. Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes are not the most likely of teammates, but they gelled together pretty well. Keaton was a delight, even if her character felt like she was one step away from complete madness. She held the movie together with sheer enthusiasm for what she was doing, no matter what the situation. Queen Latifah was more reserved in this role and was willing to take a backseat to her co-stars. And before she entered the vortex that is the life of Tim Cruise, Katie Holmes had a promising film career. Mad Money goes a long way to showing why she was such a likeable person in the first place. She still looks great and her character was cute, ditzy but also had some smarts hidden in the back somewhere. Ted Danson, Roger Cross and Adam Rothenberg played the various love interests and each of them had their moments, but this was a movie where the women shined.
There were some funny moments, mostly coming from Keaton and the way she read her lines. It wasn't a laugh-out-loud film by any means, but it also never felt like it was dragging. Even clocking in at 104 minutes, the film moved along at a pretty good pace. There weren't a lot of markers to let you know how much time had elapsed in the movie world and that was a little disconcerting. It felt like they were stealing money for a short time when it turns out they had been at it for years. No one changed a lot in that time. The 'bad' guys in the film - the ones after the women - weren't really that mean so there wasn't anyone to root against. It was mostly just about the women and watching them enjoy themselves while stealing money that wasn't traceable.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Mad Money even thought I thought it was a little ridiculous. There were some funny scenes, and the likeability of the three actresses held the film together.
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