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Movie Review: Money Monster Comes Up Short

Money Monster film art featuring George Clooney (left) and Jack O'Connell Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Money Monster film art featuring George Clooney (left) and Jack O'Connell

Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts a TV show in which he's part, showman, part financial advisor. He livens up the program with visual and sound effects, like hens clucking as he tells viewers "not to be chicken" when he suggests a risky stock.

It's all a lot of fun until a disgruntled and unstable investor, Kyle (Jack O'Connell) storms the set. Kyle lost all the money he had - a $60,000 inheritance from his recently deceased mother – having invested in a stock recommended by Gates. Armed with a gun and vest loaded with bombs, Kyle insists that his complaints be heard by the national viewing audience. The show's director, (Julia Roberts) speaks to Gates through his earpiece trying to keep both Kyle and Gates calm as she communicates with the police. She then tries to appease Kyle by finding out what did happen to his investment.

Money Monster ultimately fails to live up to the hype and promise of its thrilling commercials and its cast which includes Hollywood royalty, George Clooney and Julia Roberts. It garner's a "Rent It" rating.

The plot trips through an international explanation as to why the stock that Gates said was as safe as a saving account and in which Kyle invested in, went awry in total to the tune of $800 million. Money Monster does have some unexpected twists and turns but they are not enough to salvage this story.

The film is adequately directed by Jodie Foster. And the real stars here are Jack O'Connell as the troubled and overreacting but justifiably outraged stockholder and Julia Roberts as the stabilizing and rational thinking TV director.

George Clooney turns in a sufficient but unexceptional performance. In the show's introduction, Clooney does some shadow boxing and dancing - and he was frankly not up to either activity. There was laughter in the audience and those scenes were not supposed to be funny.

Money Monster gets a "B" for cast diversity. (Half black/half Italian) Giancarlo Esposito plays Police Captain Marcus Powell. Condola Rashad (Ahmad and Phylicia Rashad's daughter) is the show's production assistant, Bree. Asian-American actress, Greta Lee has a small supporting role. There are a number of black actors in roles as cameramen and stage crew. The film is set in New York City and ironically, Hispanics are conspicuously absent in this film.

Money Monster is 98 minutes in length and is rated "R" (for language, brief sexuality, and violence).

It gets a "Rent It" rating. It's lightly entertaining but not worth the trip to the theater.