Money Monster, the brand-new movie that debuts in theaters today, is off to a good start, having received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter stated that director Jodie Foster and star Julia Roberts appeared to be near tears in reaction to the nearly four minutes of sustained applause from the star-studded audience. Roberts was overheard saying to Foster about the cameras and the applause, “This is crazy.” It was the first time that the Pretty Woman star has appeared at Cannes.
Julia Roberts and George Clooney attend the screening of 'Money Monster' at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival pic.twitter.com/ihYZHk1FOA— best of julia (@bestofjroberts) May 12, 2016
What Money Monster Is About
Money Monster is part action, part comedy with subtle references to the 2008 financial crisis. It stars George Clooney as Lee Gates, a zany, Jim Cramer-like host of Money Monster, a TV show that deals with financial matters. Roberts plays the show’s producer, Patty Fenn. While used to Gates’ antics – again, think Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money– she is always trying to keep up with her talent’s impulsive, over-the-top on-screen antics.
But everything changes when a low-wage earner played by Jack O’Connell, who lost a fortune at the stock market (based upon Lee’s projections) bursts on to the TV set with gun in hand, and straps an explosive vest onto Lee while viewers are watching.
The result, as Variety put it, is a film that takes cues from classic films Dog Day Afternoon and Inside Man “in the service of a far more lightweight confection.”
The New York Times notes that Money Monster is not like The Big Short — a movie based upon real events that told the story of the 2008 financial collapse. Rather, “it supplies a curious sort of comfort.”
“In other words, you will not necessarily learn anything here about how TV or high finance really work, but you will be invited to enjoy the illusion of such enlightenment in the skilled and charismatic company of Julia Roberts and George Clooney.”
Rotten Tomatoes gives Money Monster an average rating of 6.1, or 63 percent, calling it “a solidly written story…that’s powerful enough to overcome a muddled approach to its worthy themes.”
Variety found that the film captures some elements of the current presidential election, as “one could see Lee as a fittingly fatuous proxy for the out-of-touch punditocracy that failed to predict” the populist uprisings of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. On the whole, Variety‘s critique was mild, noting that while Money Monster “may not linger long in the memory after credits roll,” it’s still “worth the modest time investment” of 98 minutes.
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone called it “a vividly entertaining action thriller,” noting that the theme fits in well at a time when, “Hating on Wall Street is the new national pastime.”
Rolling Stone also gave Foster, in her fourth turn as a director, high praise. “Foster moves her film from a pulse-quickening nail-biter, with SWAT teams and choppers swirling, to an incisive look at a beleaguered America undergoing a crisis of faith.”
Money Monster is rated ‘R’ for language, and it’s in theaters beginning on Friday, May 13.
Do you think you’ll go and see Money Monster this weekend? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]