Atsushi Nishijima
Leah Greenblatt
May 12, 2016 AT 03:29 PM EDT

Money Monster

Current Status
In Season
98 minutes
Wide Release Date
George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell
Jodie Foster
Crime, Drama, Thriller

We gave it a B

Self-styled financial guru Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of a show called Money Monster, but he’s more jester than monster: a mugging Jim Cramer–meets–P.T. Barnum type who snazzes up his daily stock picks with sound effects, silly props (boxing gloves, top hats, stuffed parrots), and backup dancers in gold lamé hot pants. His long-suffering producer Patty (Julia Roberts) provides adult supervision and nominally controls the chaos; she’s also the first to notice the young guy who wanders on set in the midst of a live taping, looking like a lost gaffer or Seamless delivery guy. His name is Kyle, and he’s not dropping off pad thai; he’s got a loaded gun and two suicide vests. One is for the man he’s decided did him wrong (that would be Lee) by recommending Ibis Clear Capital, a “sure-thing” stock that drained his meager life savings when it suddenly and inexplicably plummeted, and the other is for Ibis CEO Walt Camby (Dominic West), who is scheduled to appear on that day’s show. In the tense, nearly real-time standoff that follows, we learn what drives Kyle (played with admirable intensity and a slightly misguided outer-borough accent by British actor Jack O’Connell), Lee, and, to a lesser extent, Patty. The resolution of the script’s central mystery feels rushed, and its message—Wall Street bad, common man good—isn’t exactly nuanced. (The Big Short offered a far fresher take on American corporate malfeasance last year.) Still, as a solid B-movie elevated by A-list talent and pushed along by a brisk running time—it’s only 98 minutes—Money has its own rewards. B

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