Mad Money opens with shots of the leading ladies shredding, burning or otherwise disposing of money. This is to make you think, "I wonder what's up? Why would anyone want to destroy money? That's madness!" The film then proceeds to tell its story in flashback with multiple narrators who all have one narrative perspective. It's a device that has no meaningful impact on the story. It just exists.
Review: Mad Money
What gets everyone to the shredding point is a scheme to rob the Federal Reserve. Bridget (Diane Keaton) resents that her husband (Ted Danson) got downsized and she has nothing but contempt for her janitor job. Nina (Queen Latifah) is just trying to make ends meet for her kids. Jackie (Katie Holmes) is the wacky, ditzy free spirit just along for the ride.
The actual schemes are good. They come up with exciting solutions to new problems, even though those problems are their own doing. The heist involves Keaton's turtleneck accessories, so that's something. It also gives the girls an opportunity to dance in the bedroom as if nobody's watching.
Bridget is a fairly despicable character. She pushes it way farther than necessary for no reason other than overt greed, and she's irresponsible. She's so blatantly stupid, the movie even has to explain why she's so stupid. I guess there are lots of good crime movies about stupid criminals, but they can't be annoying too.
Nothing against any of the actors. They're just doing what they're asked. The exasperated freak out has become Keaton's thing. Holmes seems to have fun playing the typecast ditz. Queen Latifah seems to be going through the whole movie with the attitude of "Yeah, I know…" Don't call me sexist. The male characters are annoying too. There's the dumb meathead, the whining hubbie and the A-hole manager.
Oh yeah, it's all still a flashback. They have to remind you because it's such a completely unnecessary device. It's just an arbitrary structure.
It's not unwatchable. There are occasional moments. The montage of gross ways money gets touched is funny. There's one good ironic line. The procedure of the Federal Reserve is informative. Interesting? Eh. It's informative. The single mom stuff is heartfelt, even though it's totally typical.
The girl power is good but it's just so pat. They're trying so hard to be cute. If you want to be the female equivalent of a testosterone heist caper, why not embrace some of the badass qualities of the genre?