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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Mad Money (review)

Oh, it’s completely implausible, sure, but rather enticing as well: could three low-level employees at a Federal Reserve bank really walk out the front door with wads of bills that had been destined to be shredded? Could they really do it over and over again? It makes me think of that Johnny Cash song about building a car out of parts he smuggled, over many years, out of the factory where he worked. It’s one of those stick-it-to-the-man fantasies that we all indulge in, and it works here on that level: as bright, cheery, satisfying fantasy, if a mere trifle of a passing fancy. And it works, too, as a celebration of female don’t-ignore-us indignation, as Diane Keaton (Because I Said So), Queen Latifah (The Perfect Holiday), and Katie Holmes (Thank You for Smoking) — all necessary but unappreciated workers beneath the notice of their male overlords — band together to pull off the one job no one would have expected of the gals who merely doing the cleaning up, of one kind or another. Well, they’re cleaning up now… The three stars are charming on their own here, however throwaway the final product is, but even more so when they’re onscreen together and their divergent but complementary charismas mesh into one appealing jumble. And thank goodnes director Callie Khouri has gotten back on track. She shot to fame for writing the go-girl revenge drama Thelma & Louise, and then disappointed us a few years back when her directorial debut, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, turned out to be, apparently, a secret plot against female sovereignty. Here, though, she resists any larger statements than “It’s fun to be rich, and it’s fun not to have to work for it, and it’s even more fun to outclever those who never expected you to be clever at all.”

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watch at home

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sexual material and language, and brief drug references

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb

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