At The Movies: Money Monster

“Money Monster” is a C+ thriller with A-list talent that delivers a .. what? ..B, B+, B- level movie? I don’t know how it adds up, I’m not a teacher. This is why I don’t give films letter grades.

George Clooney stars as Lee Gates, a blowhard financial expert on cable television. You know the type. Julia Roberts plays his longtime and long-suffering director, Patty Fenn. Lee is the star of “Money Monster,” in which he prances around on stage and tells people what to do with their money.

moneymonster_posterOne day a blue-collar loser named Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) sneaks into the studio during a live broadcast. He pulls out a gun and straps a bomb-vest on Lee. Kyle is upset, you see, that he invested all his savings on Ibis Clear Capital based on Lee’s assurance that it was a sure thing. A “glitch” in the company’s programming somehow cost the business 800 million dollars, a small portion of which was Kyle’s future.

Kyle doesn’t want his money back, he wants answers. But Lee doesn’t have them, and the company spokeswoman (Caitriona Balfe) is only interested in her talking points — which only enrages Kyle all the more. Kyle wants to hear from the Ibis CEO (Dominic West), but he’s off somewhere on his private plane and off the grid.

Directed by Jodie Foster, “Money Monster” doesn’t break any new ground but it’s a decent thriller. It doesn’t take a lot of skill to portray Wall Street as a villain these days and O’Connell gives a solid performance as the common man struggling to get by and feeling like the system is rigged against him. Clooney and Roberts also do good work as they try to stay alive while trying to figure out what really happened at Ibis.


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