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Movie Review

Mad Money

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material and language, and brief drug references

Reviewed by: Nory Garcia
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Comedy, Crime, Thriller, Drama, Remake
Length:
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
January 18, 2008 (wide); DVD: May 13, 2008
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Copyright, Overture Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Overture Films

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

Stealing in the Bible

Lying

Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

Eternal life—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

About Faith

God’s Law

Have you kept each of the Ten Commandments? Are you good enough to go to Heaven?

More about the Ten Commandments of the Bible

Why followers of Christ should use The Ten Commandments in evangelism

Do Not Enter

Character

Biblical women with admirable character, include: Mrs. Noah, Mary (mother of Jesus), Esther, Deborah, and Milcah, daugher of Zelophehad.

Featuring: Diane Keaton, Ted Danson, Katie Holmes, Adam Rothenberg, Queen Latifah, Sterling Blackmon, Peyton “Alex” Smith, [more]
Director: Callie Khouri
Producer: James Acheson, Jay Cohen, Boaz Davidson, Frank DeMartini, Danny Dimbort, Michael P. Flannigan, Robert O. Green, Wendy Kram, Avi Lerner, Trevor Short
Distributor: Overture Films

“They’re having the crime of their lives…”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A comedy about three ordinary women who form an unlikely friendship and decide to do something extraordinary—rob one of the most secure banks in the world. Bridget Cardigan is shocked to learn that she is on the verge of losing her home and comfortable upper middle class lifestyle when her husband Don is downsized from his job. Armed only with a decades old English degree and years as a dedicated mother and corporate wife, Bridget is forced into the unfamiliar labor market with no job skills. Finally, she accepts the only position she can find—janitor at the Federal Reserve Bank. The one-time suburban mom soon discovers she has more in common with her new co-workers than she thought. Bridget forges an unexpected bond with Nina, a hard-working single mom with two kids to raise, and Jackie, an exuberant free spirit with nothing to lose.

Caught up in a system that underestimates their talents and keeps their dreams just out of reach, Bridget, Nina and Jackie set out to even the score. After a lifetime of playing by the rules, the three devise a plan to smuggle soon-to-be destroyed currency out of the supposedly airtight Reserve. As the unlikely crime syndicate amasses piles of cash, it looks like they have pulled off the perfect crime—until a minor misstep alerts the authorities. With more money than they know what to do with, the women are pushed to the limits of their ingenuity to stay one step ahead of the law!”

In a film well-written and directed by Calie Khouri of “Thelma and Louise” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” fame, three women from different walks of life take the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention” to the next level. In this sting-like caper, Diane Keaton, Queen Latifa, and Katie Holmes meet while working at the Federal Reserve. Soon they take the viewer on what seems like a fun ride. The ladies are at their acting best, Oscar® winner Diane Keaton (“Annie Hall”) and Oscar® nominee Queen Latifa (“Chicago”) and Katie Holmes (“Dawson’s Creek” and “Wonder Boys”) are simply wonderfully easy to watch, as they aren’t just playing these roles, they become them. Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Ted Danson (“Damages”, “Cheers”) is elegant, well spoken and very funny as always—fitting perfectly into his character of a man at the end of his rope, having lost his job and finding himself almost three hundred thousand dollars in debt. Soon, his wife Bridget (Keaton) has brought all of them into her desperate search for a better life, and they all begin to check their consciences at the door.

Of course, after the money starts coming in, greed replaces need, and no one is looking back. This film is funny, by all means, but there’s more to this plot than recycling pre-shredded money. Not only are these people not content with their circumstances, but lying, stealing and breaking the law seems like nothing compared to the comfort instant wealth seems to bring. As one of the characters states, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy everything else.” Danson’s character also says, at one point, he’s not sorry, so it’s clear there’s no repentance.

Matthew 18:27 tells us, “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.”

As the story unfolds, we almost root for these people, as their circumstances and personalities draw you in to justify what they are doing.

There is a show of love, however…

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
…first, between the women—sacrifices made by them, one toward the other, as they begin to bond and become part of each other’s lives, and, second, between Queen Latifa and her love interest, but more importantly between the latter and her two sons. She’s a single mom, and the love she has for her young boys is the driving force behind her stealing the money. It is, in fact, hard not to want her to move out of the thug—and gun-infested neighborhood she lives in.

Katie Holmes really exercises her acting chops as Jackie, she’s funny and extremely convincing as a trailer-dwelling, i-Pod listening “chick” whose “dumb” demeanor isn’t what it seems, and who’s heart of gold comes through at the end.

This film is entertaining and fun to watch, and at times endearing, but it truly shows the condition of the world. We’re not happy with our lives? We need money. We’re in debt? We need money. We want better things? We need money. It seems money is the answer to all problems, and it seems to answer the age old question of “how do I achieve status and quick financial comfort in a fun and non-threatening way.”

The name of GOD is mentioned several times in a derogatory way. Women are once referred to as the B-word, the S-word is used five or six times—once by a child. There is brief, partial nudity, and the word “sex” is used several times in a casual way. There are brief scenes in which they show ways in which money can be used, including placing it in an exotic dancer’s underwear. The fact that Queen Latifa has not had sex in seven years is mentioned a few times and seems horribly impossible to Holmes’ character. Also, drugs are mentioned, as Jackie prefers to have the ladies think she’s on drugs, rather than tell them she’s diabetic—hence the needle in her purse.

Romans 13:9 states “For the commandments, you shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying namely, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Also, it reads on greed,

Luke 11:39 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness’.”

And, on our words and what we speak, we read,

Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Though we do see some redeeming qualities in the love and bond these characters develop for one another—and the fact that they are otherwise nice people with seemingly good intentions, I cannot help but note that the premise of the film is based on greed and lack of conviction and faith that GOD above all will supply all our needs, financial and otherwise.

2 Corinthians 6:4 “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses.”

And we read in Matthew 6:26,

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

All in all, I do not recommend this film if the above issues are offensive to you. It is a light-hearted comedy which does not mean to offend, but to entertain those who only mean to be entertained.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral
Neutral—This movie is enjoyable to watch, funny moments and likeable characters. The movie is about stealing money and how the stolen money improves the characters lives. While I also wish I had extra money, I was slightly disappointed that the movie didn't show the characters regretting their actions or deciding they were better off without the stolen money or even being punished for their crime.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Hayley, age 27, Australia
Negative
Negative—I believe that if Mad Money had a different ending, I would love it. The moral of the movie is pretty much this: It's only bad if you don't get caught. The movie is very repetitive, and almost the only thing that happens is the trio steals money, and get thrown in jail, but get let off the hook because there's no evidence. I would accept the movie as okay if the ending wasn't Disney-fied, and if two of the characters stopped talking about the other main character and the security guard getting together, and how she has not had sex in 6 years (I think it was). I really don't like the fact that pre-marital sex is okay. That's one of my problems with the world today, and made me dislike this movie. My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Tevin, age 13
Negative—I believe that if Mad Money had a different ending, I would love it. The moral of the movie is pretty much this: It's only bad if you don't get caught. The movie is very repetitive, and almost the only thing that happens is the trio steals money, and get thrown in jail, but get let off the hook because there's no evidence. I would accept the movie as okay if the ending wasn't Disney-fied, and if two of the characters stopped talking about the other main character and the security guard getting together
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Tevin, age 13
Negative—My wife and I didn't even make it all the way through this movie, which is saying something, because we usually watch to the end in hopes that it will get better. Mad Money, for the hour or so that we watched it, was about nothing but greed and corruption. And not just personal corruption, because the main character draws an ever-increasing number of coworkers and acquaintances into her plans to rip off the Federal Reserve Bank by stealing worn out cash that is supposed to be destroyed. The arguments used to justify this theft are increasingly ludicrous, and you begin to wonder just how deluded these characters can be. Half way through the bar scene where two of the trio of women are trying to convince the third to have sex with a security guard (because he has discovered their actions, and they want to keep him quiet), we turned it off. As far as I'm concerned, this movie had no redeeming qualities, and you shouldn't waste your money on the rental.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Randall, age 39