Why should George Clooney
, Brad Pitt
, and their Las Vegas crew have all of the fun? Callie Khouri
's clever Mad Money lets the girls in on the action for a change, as Diane Keaton
, Queen Latifah
, and Katie Holmes
hatch a scheme to "withdraw" funds from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Suburban socialite Bridget (Keaton) cooks up the inside job after her husband's financial ruin forces her to take custodial work at the bank. After all, she has to figure some way to fund her cushy, upper-class comfort zone crafted by greed. Bridget's foolproof plan requires help. She recruits flighty cash transporter Jackie (Holmes) and struggling single mom Nina (Latifah), whose job requires she shred bills that are no longer in circulation. Article continues below
Khouri didn't pen this script (credit goes to Glenn Gers), but her screenwriting experience -- she won the Oscar for Thelma & Louise -- ensures that Money holds together, and delivers laughs, as the ladies beat the system. The film makes creative use of flashbacks and breaks the fourth wall between cast and audience. Key players, already in jail, recount plot details to flummoxed police officers. Bridget's theory about crime being contagious might not click, but comments about society's inherent desire to spend money we don't have hit home.
In time, though, Money stops paying close attention to details. Nina doesn't want Jackie's phone number programmed in her cell for fear it might link the two ladies, yet the three "criminals" eat out at the same rib shack together every few weeks. We notice this primarily because the scam has been fairly airtight up to this point. But the cast, uniformly good, smoothes over most of the wrinkles, and Ted Danson
, as Bridget's incredulous husband, steals every scene he occupies.