Mad Money

posted January 18, 2008 11:21:42 AM CST | 3 comments

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Veteran actress Diane Keaton makes for a much more believable thief than she does a doctor. Who’d a thunk it? You might, for one, after hearing her character Bridget Cardigan say “Crime is contagious” while explaining her crew’s obsession with stealing. Though anyone with a PHD could find folly in her statement, there is some truth to it all. Money (or even the prospect of one day attaining it) can make folks do some crazy ish.

Mrs. Cardigan, on the surface, appears a well-to-do wife of a successful businessman (Ted Danson). Under it, she’s a broke socialite trying to keep her family together after said husband loses his job. Nina (Queen Latifah) is a hard-working single mom who only wants the best for her kids. Jackie (Katie Holmes) is a free-spirited woman who only wants… well, from the looks of things, batteries for a walkman she insists on listening to all the time.

When money woes force Bridget into a maintenance position at the Federal Reserve in Kansas City, the three ladies strike a bond that may not last forever, but it certainly could be good for 15 to 20 years. Bridget’s ploy to rob the joint of used up bills the government plans to otherwise shred has more holes in it than the pitiful Chiefs’ offensive line. And honestly, the execution of it all is a total joke and should have been scooped out by a flashlight cop at the mall, let alone the so-called top brass at a government agency. But even with all of these shortcomings seemingly foiling Mad Money’s plan for respectability, the movie still finds a way to make it. Nonetheless, the Sloppy Plot Police have a good case with this movie; it just doesn’t have one with Queen. While her role is somewhat muted, she’s very likable and still supplies those candid, realistic one-liners.

Another thing this picture has on its side is that it really strikes a chord on man’s obsession with having material possessions. After a handful of capers, Nina and Jackie feel they’ve stolen enough and want out. But “Bonnie” Cardigan feeds them some don’t-you-want-the-finer-things mumbo jumbo and they get back on their burglarizing grind.

A wise man once said, “Money may not be the root of all evil, but wanting it has to be on the stump somewhere.” A greedy woman named Bridget joked here, “I hate cleaning toilets, but the money is so good.” After this one goes off, you might say something comparable about formulaic buddy comedies that still manage to put a half smile on your face even after the jig is up.

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