Cast: Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes
Director: Callie Khouri
SUNY Purchase '05
"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore
Review By: Rocco Passafuime
"Chick flicks"Â have long been a staple of Hollywood. They are usually always a sure bet with audiences because of how light-hearted, simplistic, and most importantly, mass-appealing and fun they tend to be.
Diane Keaton has garnered much of her success in the past two decades in this genre. Unfortunately, even she can't ignite the sheer pedestrian and abysmal affair that is the comedy Mad Money, now available on DVD.
Bridget Cardigan (Diane Keaton), an upper middle class housewife who is on hard times as her husband, Don (Ted Danson), has been laid off for over a year and owe $286,000 in debt. When she learns Don plans to sell their home, Bridget takes a job as a janitor at a federal reserve bank.
After observing how the bank shreds paper money that is rendered useless, Bridget concocts a way to get a hold of the money before it is destroyed. She soon allies herself with two colleagues Nina Brewster (Queen Latifah) and eccentric airhead Jackie Truman (Katie Holmes) in the scheme, but it soon begins to backfire when the participants involved inadvertently begin to get caught up in their own greed.
Mad Money is certainly an intriguing enough plot and despite the seemingly cynical grouping up of the rather mismatched Keaton, Latifah, and Holmes, the entire cast does its job fairly well. However, what prevents this comedy from staying afloat is rather alarmingly pedestrian direction from Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri, which ultimately saps the film dry of any vitality or genuine humor whatsoever.
The DVD's picture quality is presented in both its original 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, as well as a cropped 1:33:1 pan-and-scan aspect ratio. The DVD is also packed with a pair of special features.
The first is commentary from director Callie Khouri, who provides plenty of information. Rounding out the special features is the featurette "Makin' Money: Behind The Scenes of Mad Money, which features interviews with Khouri and much of the cast.
All in all, Mad Money had certainly a good enough plot to at least make a fairly interesting comedy. But even with a stellar cast, the sheer, perfunctory lifelessness of Khouri's direction turns what should have been and probably was intended to be lighthearted fun into a rather dull and virtually-on-autopilot film.
Movie Grade: D
DVD Features Grade: B-
Overall Grade: C