Mad Money

Posted: January 19, 2008 in Film Reviews
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WORKIN’ HARD FOR THE MONEY: Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton in a scene from Mad Money (Photo courtesy of Alliance Atlantis)If you discovered a foolproof method of stealing thousands, even millions, of dollars, the question becomes not would you do it but for how long.

Bridget (Diane Keaton) is an upper middle class corporate wife but when she suddenly finds herself on the verge of losing her house, her lack of job skills leads her to accept the only job she can find: cleaning lady at the Federal Reserve Bank. However, once there, she discovers she has more in common with the other lowly workers than she thought – mostly, their shared need of money.

Bridget’s desperation and unauthorized observations lead her to devise the perfect plan to steal bundles of worn-out cash before it is destroyed. But to make her plan work, she needs the help of two other underestimated employees; it is a three-woman job. Approaching Nina (Queen Latifah) and Jackie (Katie Holmes) with the idea is risky but it really pays off. After all, “crime is contagious.” Of course, all it takes is one mistake and the whole thing can fall in upon them.

Mad Money is a different take on the caper film, replacing the male protagonists with clever women and focusing on the aftermath of the heist rather than the preparation and particulars of the robbery. The success of their plan is not reliant on high-tech gadgets, but rather commonsense and resourcefulness. Although the comedy that ensues from the blending of these different personalities may not stand up to that of Ocean’s 11, it is nonetheless entertaining.

This film definitely benefits from good casting, as Keaton, Latifah and Holmes mesh believably while representing each of their characters perfectly: the ingenious housewife, the strong single mom and the ditzy free spirit, respectively. Furthermore, the supporting males, whom include Ted Danson, compliment each of the women nicely and Stephen Root is just the right kind of creepy as the always watching head of security.

The story idea is great, based on the British screenplay Hot Money. The pain of watching that much money shredded on a regular basis begs for a plan to save some of it. In addition, it is easy to identify with because everyone’s had cash on the brain at some time (or most of the time) and everyone’s thought about it at least once: a million dollar cheque passes through your hands at work, the armoured truck stops across the street for a pickup and the you think “if only…”

In case you are wondering, 7,000 tons of paper money, $10 billion US is destroyed annually.

Fortunately, this Mad Money does not have to be saved for a rainy day.

  1. Graham Hill says:

    This might be the dumbest “caper film” ever made. Forget everything that you know about common sense and this movie could work for you. The main characters are supposed to be smart, however, they make one moronic decision after another. This is a sort of girl-power movie, of course, so the male characters are too dumb and powerless to explain to the ladies how stupid their plan really is and how they will eventually get caught. Nobody has a brain or a sole in this movie. And does anybody really want to see Diane Keaton make out?