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Money Monster (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 98 minutes.

OK for children.

This is either a spoof or a devastating attack on those charlatans on TV who spout all they know about investing in stocks and bonds. I used to watch CNBC. For years I had it on my TV in the background all day long as I worked. While I never bought anything they touted, the only money I’ve ever lost investing was chasing someone else’s investing idea.

George Clooney plays a guy who touts stocks while acting like a jackass on TV. I kept thinking of Jim Cramer, but maybe that’s not fair to George Clooney. Why anybody listens to these people is beyond me because all they are are entertainers. And to this movie’s credit (well directed by Jodie Foster), it shows them as just that, basically clowns who don’t know their elbow from third base.

Clooney is on camera with Julia Roberts as his director when just after his show starts, the set is invaded by a man (Jack O’Donnell) holding a gun who puts a bomb vest on Clooney. The guy lost everything on a stock Clooney pushed and wants revenge and more. It’s set up very well and doesn’t really have that many plotholes, considering what it is.

Clooney is in his element as he is pushing his anti-greed shtick. In fact, Clooney doesn’t hide his political stances, saying on NBC’s Today Show, “I can say whatever I want to say. That’s the way it works.”

While I rarely agree with Clooney’s positions, this one, aimed at the TV shyster investment “advisors” is valid and it is taken to a logical conclusion.

Foster is a smart enough director that she doesn’t instruct Roberts to laugh on cue. As a result, Julia gives a good performance as the harried director who remains in control in the stressful situation. And O’Donnell is very good as the upset investor turned terrorist. Although born in England (English mother and Irish father), he handles the American accent flawlessly. Foster keeps the pace going right up to the end.