Thursday, May 19, 2016
George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in a film that can best be described as DOG DAY AFTERNOON meets THE BIG SHORT meets NETWORK, but not as good as any of them. And yet, I found it entertaining. It zipped along at only 97 minutes. Next to great movies are movies you don’t have to check your watch.
Jodie Foster directed it in a Sidney Lumet style. You’ll notice at every turn I’m comparing this movie to other movies and that’s because there was nothing really original about it. Yet it’s very well done and holds your interest.
George is a goofy TV host of a daily financial show and Julia is his producer. NEWSROOM with funny hats and props. He is held up at gunpoint live on the air (add KING OF COMEDY to the mix). Now comes a big standoff with police negotiators, Julia talking in George’s ear, Swat teams, and an underlying conspiracy.
In an attempt to get out of the claustrophobic TV studio, the action eventually moves outside and the story gets very silly and implausible. But no buildings are toppled by X-Men, no doomsday machines threaten to destroy the earth, and no one is clonked on the noggin by a flying ancient sledgehammer.
I saw MONEY MONSTER at a DGA screening. Jodie Foster did a Q&A after the film. She’s very talented. I think Jodie Foster will make it in this industry.
She talked about the development of the film, working for several years on the script, and getting George Clooney to come aboard. Their first choice for the producer character was Julia Roberts and Jodie was surprised when she said yes. Of course, Julia worked only eight days, most of them in a nice protected sound stage, and made several million dollars for her effort. It’s not like she had to do eight days on THE REVENANT and skin a bear.
If only Jodie had gotten Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence.
Alas, MONEY MONSTER is just a diverting night at the Cineplex. And if they want to use this as a blurb: It’s the best studio movie out there where no one flies.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM