Special to the AmNews
Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts a TV show in which he’s part showman and part financial advisor. He livens up the program with visual and sound effects, such as hens clucking, as he tells viewers “not to be chicken” when he suggests a risky stock.
It’s all a lot of fun until a disgruntled and unstable investor, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), storms the set. Budwell lost all the money he had—a $60,000 inheritance from his recently deceased mother—having invested in a stock recommended by Gates. Armed with a gun and wearing a vest loaded with explosives, Budwell insists that his complaints be heard by the national viewing audience. The show’s director, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), speaks to Gates through his earpiece, trying to keep both Budwell and Gates calm as she communicates with the police. She then tries to appease Budwell by finding out what did happen to his investment.
“Money Monster” ultimately fails to live up to the hype and promise of its thrilling commercials and its cast, which includes Hollywood royalty, Clooney and Roberts. It garners a “Rent It” rating.
The plot trips through an international explanation as to why the stock, which Gates had claimed was as safe as a savings account and in which Budwell had invested, went awry to the tune of $800 million. “Money Monster” does have some unexpected twists and turns, but they are not enough to salvage this story.
The film is adequately directed by Jodie Foster. And the real stars here are O’Connell as the troubled and overreacting but justifiably outraged stockholder and Roberts as the stabilizing and rational-thinking TV director.
Clooney turns in a sufficient but unexceptional performance. In the show’s opening, he does some shadow boxing and dancing—and he was, frankly, not up to either activity. There was laughter in the audience and those scenes were not supposed to be funny.
“Money Monster” gets a “B” for cast diversity. Giancarlo Esposito (half Black/half Italian) plays Police Captain Marcus Powell. Condola Rashad (Ahmad and Phylicia’s daughter) is production assistant, Bree. Asian-American actress Greta Lee has a small supporting role. A number of Black actors are in roles as cameramen and stage crew. Set in New York City, this film has a conspicuous absence of Hispanics.
“Money Monster” is 98 minutes in length and is rated “R” (for language, brief sexuality and violence).
It gets a “Rent It” rating. It’s lightly entertaining but not worth the trip to the theater.