Money Monster Reviews: Does George Clooney, Julia Roberts Thriller Pay Off?

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Money Monster
George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Money Monster

Nearly every critic used the same word to describe “Money Monster.”

Timely.

The Jodie Foster-directed thriller starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts comes straight from election year headlines — and voter anxieties — with the story of a TV money guru held hostage at gunpoint on live TV by a viewer who lost his life savings by following the show’s bum financial tip.

Debuting this week at the Cannes Film Festival and opening Friday, “Money Monster” gets a 68 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Clooney won high marks for his shamelessly shallow — but secretly conflicted — Jim Cramer-type character, though critics were divided over whether the script and Foster’s direction keep the momentum going.

A sampling of the more positive reviews:

“Big money Wall Street gets bashed by big money Hollywood in ‘Money Monster,’ a timely, moderately engaging real-time thriller about a live-TV hostage drama that unfortunately lacks any suspense whatsoever”Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“It’s a movie of the moment: an expertly made state-of-the-nation popcorn flick that also underscores just how little most of us know about the behind-the-scenes shell games of the banking and finance industries, with our money as the disappearing nugget”Stephanie Zacharek, Time 

But some critics found the movie failing to up to its own high expectations.

“With stars like George Clooney and Julia Roberts, the film is sure to generate buzz. But it’s not just a potboiler — it aims to score points about greed, social class, and the perils of the global economy. Given that, does it succeed? The answer is yes … and no” – Ian Salisbury, Money 

The problem, the more negative reviews said, was that “Money Monster” began to fizzle.

“‘Money Monster’ is nothing if not timely, which makes it all the more disappointing when the plot takes increasingly outlandish, even naive turns, and what could have been a modern-day classic on a par with ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ or ‘Network’ instead becomes ‘Speed’ with more high-frequency trading and arcane algorithms”Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

So many things about ‘Money Monster’ sounded tempting as mainstream grownup entertainment. … What transpires, though, is a bewilderingly facile and preposterously plotted misfire that offers few pleasures as either a star-driven thriller or a big-screen indictment of the forces that devastated global bank accounts, an issue actively driving this year’s election” – Robert Abele, TheWrap

 

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