While being a serviceable, somewhat female-empowering bank-heist comedy, Mad Money doesn't do much else to distinguish itself.
We've seen Mad Money's circumstances all before, hence the reason bank-heist movies do well. People can relate to wanting some extra cash, especially in this day and age. That's what Bridget (Diane Keaton) thinks anyway, when her husband (Ted Danson) is downsized in his high-paying job and she's forced to work as a janitor at the Federal Reserve Bank. Bridget realizes they actually destroy money when it gets too worn out, and so comes up with a plan to take some before they get rid of it. Who can it hurt, right? She needs help, though, and convinces two of her new co-workers--Nina (Queen Latifah), a hard-working single mom, and Jackie (Katie Holmes), a free spirit with nothing to lose--to join her in her scheme to smuggle out the money. After a lifetime of playing by the rules, it's time they even the score. Just don't try to attempt any of the characters' actions in real life--unless, of course, you work for the Federal Reserve Bank and can get away with it.
Veteran Keaton plays the same frazzled, eccentric--and preppy--character she's been playing of late, and it's really wearing thin. It seems she hit her pinnacle with Something's Gotta Give and has been on a slow decline since then (Because I Said So proves it). Latifah, too, plays the same type of character she always plays: the voice of reason in the chaotic circumstances her characters find themselves in. The real hoot is Holmes, who hasn't really shown her kooky, comedic side before in movies. Her Jackie is adorably ditzy without going over the top. Still, pairing up the three actresses mostly works, especially when they are all on screen together. They gel nicely. It's also great to see Danson again on the big screen, as Bridget's bewildered hubby who finally jumps on the bank-robbing bandwagon.
Writer/director--and resident chick-flick expert--Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) goes at it again with Mad Money. Khouri knows how to get a group of women together and let them strut their stuff, there's no question about that. But as a director, she's really not all that savvy, letting the action glide along without much flair. Khouri's real talent is writing, but with Mad Money she relinquishes those duties to screenwriter Glenn Gers, best known for penning last year's thriller Fracture. Female empowerment isn't necessarily Gers' forte, as the script plods along without much excitement. It's also full of montages of the ladies stealing money over and over again--padding the pages much? Overall, Mad Money isn't the most tedious way to spend a couple of hours, but you might want to save the cash.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 stars.