Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mad Money (2008) [PG-13] ***

Bridget Cardigan (Diane Keaton) and her husband Don (Ted Danson) live an affluent lifestyle in an upscale Kansas City suburb until Don loses his job to downsizing and they run out of money. Desperate, Bridget takes an hourly job as a janitor at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank where she sees worn-out money being destroyed. She puts together a plan to steal some of the money, recruits Nina (Queen Latifah) and Jackie (Katie Holmes) and the three of them put her plan into action.

In spite of a few unanticipated glitches, Bridget's plan is successful beyond their wildest dreams, until a bank examiner begins to investigate their unexplained financial transactions and purchases of luxury items. Bank robbery stories often encourage us to cheer for the robbers because (a) we've all fantasized about what we would do if a lot of money dropped into our laps, and (b) bank robbery is a victimless crime since the money in the accounts is insured. In this case, the worn-out money being destroyed at the Federal Reserve Bank has already been replaced, and technically it doesn't even exist - so how can stealing it be a crime, right? The only remaining question is... how do the three women actually steal the money? We don't develop a strong emotional connection with any of the characters, so we don't much care what happens to them.

Mad Money feels similar to Fun with Dick and Jane starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni, however there are far better crime caper films than either of those, including Bandits with Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett, and Ocean's Eleven with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and an incredible supporting cast. Queen Latifah fans may be satisfied with Mad Money; others should pass. 

Labels: comedy, crime, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 41/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=44, viewers=64)    

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