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January 23, 2008 > Movie Review 2

Movie Review 2

Mad Money

By Mona Shah

Banking on the appealing chemistry of Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah - with co-star Katie Holmes completing the trio - director Callie Khouri brings us a new heist comedy.
"Mad Money" is about three cash-strapped femmes playing unlikely comrades in a Federal Reserve Bank rip-off.

More than $200,000 in debt and in danger of losing her house when her husband (Ted Danson) is downsized, Bridget (Diane Keaton) is forced to look for a job. After a montage comically illustrating how ill-equipped a certain breed of upper-crust white woman is for the corporate world, Bridget settles for a lowly janitor's post - at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

There's something ingenious about stealing old, worn-out money that's already been earmarked for shredding, and "Mad Money" derives most of its pleasures from how the heist sequence is cleverly worked out. While you're struggling to make your tax payments, somewhere in America money is quite literally being shredded by the bushels. When a bill gets old and worn out, it's sent by your bank to Uncle Sam for recycling. After a few weeks watching billions end up in the dumpster, Bridget decides it's time for a different type of recycling. She comes up with a cunning plan.

The bank has an intense and heavily scrutinized security system (random searches, cameras everywhere, cash carts kept under lock and key) but desperate Bridget spies a loophole and eventually persuades two fellow workers - wary single mom Nina (Queen Latifah) and young, ditzy Jackie (Katie Holmes) - to help her pull off a robbery. Together they put their plan into action and run off with a lot of cash. Then they decide to do it again. That's the fun part - they keep going, walking out with more and more "to be destroyed" money, robbing their employer over and over, with no one the wiser.

We know the eventually outcome, as the beginning sequence shows them talking to interrogators, but the ending leaves you on a high note. You have to consciously ignore the holes in the plot. They seem implausible, and they are, but the movie with its loose and light-fingered touch, does not take itself seriously and Keaton keeps it light and fun. This is definitely a chick flick with the three stars appealing to a wide female demographic.

Rated: PG -13.
Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes

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