Another Big Money Movie



Stock expert Lee (George Clooney) and his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) seem to have created a well-oiled machine on their TV show that shares financial advice — until the day that an angry investor (Jack O’Connell) holds them hostage on air, demanding answers on why he lost all his money. While this movie looks exciting and tense, we’re calling it now that it devolves into a contrived happy ending. Money Monster opens in wide release May 13.

PAIGE: There is no shortage of movies about the financial crisis these days, is there? I feel like I’ve been reviewing them by the truckload lately. It can be a rather … staid genre, which is obviously why this one decided to inject the thrilling concept of “trading on the stock market” with an adrenaline shot of bomb threats, hostage situations and general police mayhem.

JAMES: At least there’s some anger in this film. Other high-profile Wall Street takedowns like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short weren’t really occupied by much outrage. Instead, they reveled in the corruption, basking in the histrionics of excess. As a viewer, you became complicit through the ultimate form of Stockholm syndrome and rooted for them. You forgave these guys because they were having so much fun, and you were right there with them.

NICOLE: I am curious as to why Julia Roberts continues to stay on air and tries to mitigate the situation. Is she a hostage negotiator? She’s spewing out all of these orders: everybody get out, don’t make eye contact. It doesn’t seem realistic — unless media organizations train their employees how to respond in crises situations.

JAIMIE: I don’t know, man, I don’t know. I do like George Clooney and I particularly like George Clooney and Julia Roberts together. I also like Julia Roberts not in something god-awful like Mother’s Day, and this does seem to be a step up from some of the movies she’s been in lately.

PAIGE: It’s been a while since I saw Julia Roberts in any kind of meaty role. What happened to her? The rom-com queen just fizzled out and away.

Maybe that wholesome, all-American charm finally started to feel contrived. Though I admit I like her better playing it mean and angry.

JAIMIE: The trailer already is building up to some contrite finale in which no one dies and everyone learns some kind of lesson. I mean, even the last song that played gave it a sort of uplifting feeling, rather than violent doom.

JAMES: Clooney siding with Jack O’Connell’s on-air captor so early on in the trailer telegraphs that things will be made right in the end. The injustice will be more of a specific crime against a backdrop of vague systemic corruption. Those responsible for “the glitch” will be incriminated on the air. And when it’s all over, the cops might even put a blanket over O’Connell. Clooney may even see him to the car.

PAIGE: It kind of looks contrived. Obviously he isn’t going to blow George Clooney and the financial institutions of America sky high, so … he’s going to learn about corruption and what, turn himself in afterward while everyone somberly reflects on the broken system and nothing changes? I kinda want to see him blow everyone up now. What a plot twist that would be.