I’ve been a George Clooney fan since I first saw him as “George” on The Facts of Life back in the 1980s. I thought he was suitably charming as Booker on Roseanne, and while I wasn’t a big E.R. fan, I thought he was knockdown, drag out awesome in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. All this was before he really became GEORGE CLOONEY – HOLLYWOOD ICON ™. While I don’t go out of my way to watch his every film, when I do sit down to watch something, as I did with Money Monster from director Jodie Foster, I usually enjoy George’s work. Which was mostly true this time out.
In Money Monster, Clooney plays Lee Gates, a TV host who picks hot stocks and who, during one particular episode, is taken hostage by a viewer (Jack O’Connell) who lost all of his savings after a bad tip. Gates’ director (Julia Roberts) is on her last day of the show, and is forced to help him navigate the situation to save his life and find out where all the money went.
Money Monster feels like an old school Hollywood drama, something akin to Network or Broadcast News, as the big name stars give it their all as they try to unravel the mystery of how a safe stock could backfire so poorly. Clooney and Roberts have an outstanding chemistry, as anyone who has watched the Ocean’s 11 trilogy can attest to, and its on display in Money Monster as well. O’Connell is outstanding as the young victim who, like so many who have lost their money in swindles and stock situations, wants to know how something so horrible can happen.
Jodie Foster has always been a capable director, and Money Monster is stylish film. It does lose steam in its final quarter though, as things fall a little too neatly into place and the audience is forced into a little bit of suspension of disbelief. Overall though, with Clooney and Roberts on screen and Foster behind the camera, Money Monster is a fun and thoughtful film from three of Hollywood’s biggest stars.