There hadn't been a film showing females taking control of their own destiny in a while, and Hollywood thought it a good idea to bring out Mad Money. An attempted comedy, the intent was to show three women that had really had enough of putting up with the hard times that society demanded upon them in the working class, and who had decided to take destiny in to their own hands. In the very opening of the film, you find out they get caught, so it really isn't even that surprising when the film heads down that path later on. This isn't one of those movies that wants to surprise, or even thrill the audience, but hopefully serve to provide a few laughs along the way. The plot isn't even very original, so the three leading actresses have a really tough "sell" in front of them if people are going to enjoy the story.
The first main character is Bridget Cardigan, who has grown accustomed to the better part of life, but when her husband is "down-sized" from his job, she risks having to really cut back on how she lives her life. So much so, that she ends up having to take the only job that she can find, which just happens to be as a custodian for the local branch of the Federal Reserve. There she starts to see what happens to currency that has been commissioned to be destroyed after being over-used in the consumer world, and starts to dream of what it would be like to have all that money for herself. Even at the urging of her supervisor, who says she shouldn't even think about it, she disregards logic, and starts formulating a plan in her head to pull off an intense heist of the Federal Reserve. Being a custodian, she thinks that she can do it if she finds two other girls that are up to the challenge.
The lead is played by Diane Keaton, and looking around she decides to ask Jackie Truman (played by Katie Holmes) and Nina Brewster (played by Queen Latifah) to help her with the robbery. It seems almost too easy, and reluctantly, they all agree to go in on the heist. If they are able to pull it off, there will be no trace that they even stole the money, and if they keep it up, they could possibly repeat the same scheme again and again. It's also no surprise that the idea gets put to the test, and we get to see the typical problems arise when people think they have come up with the perfect bank robbery. Keaton, Latifah, and Holmes all are given the opportunity to play the best versions of themselves, but there seems to be a lack of true chemistry between themselves and the script that really keeps this one from getting off of the ground.
I went into Mad Money thinking that I knew exactly how the story would play out, down to just how I thought each character would evolve, and came away disappointed that I was correct on nearly every guess. The story was very predictable, and that took away from its charm, as even though they have a couple moments of brevity that worked, there was never a moment that I really felt the characters were in jeopardy. I also didn't like how the story was being told from the future, and how we were just being shown what had already happened. This has worked in films before, but this one needed to be a story where you didn't know the outcome before you opened that first page. Mad Money was about what you would expect, and if that is your cup of tea, then more power to you. If, however, you really want a good film that is both authentic and original, you may find yourself needing to look elsewhere.
(Review owned by author SpokaneNews -- previously published at Epinions)