Money Monster Review

“Sure it may have too many problems to count, but it was pretty entertaining.”

Last night I watched Money Monster and it honestly wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. While hosting his trash TV finance show, Lee Gates (George Clooney) gets a surprise visitor in dishevelled Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell). You see Kyle decided to spend all of his money on IBIS stocks, on the recommendation of Lee Gates. It just so happens that this stock, which was toted as being “safer than a savings account”, plummeted as the company feel victim to a “computer glitch”; this leads Kyle to take Lee Gates hostage while he is looking for an explanation.

Like I said, Money Monster was not as bad as I was expecting. Not that I was expecting it to be terrible, but when the film came out I heard that it was rather boring; luckily I didn’t think so. Money Monster is a pretty basic story (angry man takes people hostage looking for reparations), but the way that the story was presented avoided it becoming stale. I would say that Money Monster did a very good job of keeping tensions high throughout the entire film. This wasn’t the easiest of tasks seeing as I could relate to literally no character, but the film managed all the same. Money Monster also did a good job of bringing a few moments of levity into the situation as well. Now of course the situation of people being taken hostage is not funny in itself, but comedy in movies is pretty much a staple. These moments of humour showed that Money Monster knew what it was, and didn’t try to be a “grown-up” movie (for lack of a better term). That being said, there was a major push toward the end of the film to suddenly make you care for every character on screen. This manifested itself in these really bizarre ways such as having the character of Kyle be verbally berated on live television. There was also this strange shift in the film’s goal that changed it from a survival story to a shitty detective story. This not only felt out of place in the film, but it also felt like this weird ‘final push’ wherein none knew where the film was headed (if that makes sense).

Money Monster is not without it’s problems however, and a lot of them come from the film’s writing. First of all there were a lot of stupid decisions made in the film. I’m not going to go into specifics because I don’t want to spoil anything, but these ‘decisions’ made by characters would genuinely make me scratch my head. Money Monster also had a serious problem of editing out information. For example: many times in the film a character (usually on the phone with another character) would say “I have to tell you something very important”, then the scene would change to something else, then we would cut back to the phone call just in time to hear “Okay, did you get all of that?”. I understand that we already knew most of the information that was being said, but it was seriously annoying to keep missing out on shit like that. Even a brief “Hey, I have to tell you something. This character is not who he says he is” or some bullshit would of helped. It’s just the annoyance that the film took the time to set up a conversation, even giving us the first sentence said, but then removed the entire conversation save for the final line which details how important the conversation was. It was like the movie was constantly rubbing in my face the fact that it wasn’t telling me something, and it was very annoying. Money Monster also had a few very weird editing decisions that stood out to me as well. For example, halfway through the film the scene cuts to different locations around the world showing these characters who are doing absolutely nothing. It isn’t until about 30 minutes later that we realize these characters are all part of the story, but even then they aren’t really part of the story. And did we really need to set them up before they were needed to propel the narrative? Did I really need to know that two dudes in Iceland were getting stoned playing video games? Did I really need to see some dudes in Africa get into a van? No, I didn’t because those characters meant nothing to me until much later in the story; and even then I could have figured out their deal within 10 seconds of seeing them so they definitely didn’t warrant an “introduction” (however shitty it was). There was also a strange moment where something happens on the broadcast (to be more specific, a certain character says “no”), and the film decides to show the reactions of everyone who is viewing the broadcast. That’s fine, it’s a reaction shot which is very common in films. The problem is instead of just cutting to all of the different people ‘reacting’ to that moment, the film decided to play that moment over and over again and then show the reactions. So instead of ten different cuts of people looking shocked, each cut started off with people staring at their televisions, then we would hear the telltale “no” come from their speakers, then they would react. This proved to be immensely annoying because these cuts happened so fast that it was just “no” being repeated every five seconds. Sure, it only repeated about six times, but it was enough to get on my nerves.

I guess all that is left to discuss is the acting in the film. Now don’t get me wrong, I thought the acting was fine but the problem is that none of the characters were worth caring about. You have the asshole television personality who runs the equivalent of a trash TV finance show. He is rich as hell, he is a dick to everyone, and he constantly walks around like he is King Shit. You then have the ‘ace producer’ (played by Julia Roberts, by the way), who is almost as out of touch as the fucking presenter. She talks down to people, she lies, and apart from that she is very bland. You then have the man who took everyone hostage who was stupid enough to listen to the aforementioned idiot presenter. He then gets mad when things don’t pan out, and he makes yet another stupid decision this time endangering the lives of others. You have the IBIS CEO (or whatever the fuck he was) who is just a generic, slimy businessman. You also have the “innocent woman” who works at IBIS, who has “absolutely no idea” what is going on. These characters are only worth mentioning because, apart from the first three that I discussed, they are in the movie the most. Literally every other character gets about five minutes screen time, which means that we don’t get a chance to learn about them (not that we would want to anyway). The acting in Money Monster is perfect, if the characters were written in the way that I described them. If, however, the characters were meant to have personality then obviously something went wrong.

Even though I was pretty harsh on Money Monster, the truth is that it was pretty fun to watch. Sure it may have too many problems to count, but it was pretty entertaining.

I give Money Monster a B

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