(2008)2.5Derek ArmstrongMad Money is a lot more fun than it has any right to be. For this we can thank the cast, for its surprising comic compatibility, and the writing, for concocting a scam that's both clever and plausible. It helps this plausibility that the film is based on a British hit (Hot Money), which itself was inspired by real events. But director Callie Khouri and screenwriter Glenn Gers deserve credit for adapting the story to the American Federal Reserve, showing how three determined conspirators could hatch a plan to "liberate" retired currency before it reaches the shredder. Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes might seem like a random selection of stars for these roles, but that's the point -- in order to fly under the radar of the Reserve's military-level security, they must seem like people who wouldn't know each other. These three develop a motley chemistry that propels the movie through some funny set pieces. In addition to functioning as a madcap caper comedy, Mad Money also works as a snapshot of corporate America in the late 2000s. Ted Danson has a funny supporting role as a formerly rich businessman, whose downsizing has left him and his wife (Keaton) with an unsupportable lifestyle. This is what prompts her to take, of all things, a janitorial job at the Reserve, in a paradoxical attempt to remain upper-class. Perhaps inevitably, Mad Money runs out of steam and goes off the rails in its third act. Morally upright characters begin casually selling out their values, and one turn of events invalidates the film's running narrative device, which features various conspirators confessing the sordid details during prison interviews. But the fact that Mad Money is even two-thirds of a good movie is more than the trailers prepared us to expect.
A woman who was used to the finer things in life is suddenly thrust back into the work force after her husband gets downsized in writer/director Callie Khouri's (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) American adaptation of the hit British comedy Hot Money. Faced with the prospect of losing her home as her debt begins to mount, posh housewife Bridget (Diane Keaton) accepts a job on the midnight cleaning crew at a local branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. When the growing temptation of the cash that surrounds her night after night ultimately proves too powerful to resist, Bridget teams with two of the other cleaners for a criminal exercise in creative moneymaking. Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes co-star in a crime comedy inspired by actual events.