“Mad Money” tries to be a hybrid heist movie, both serious and fun. Surprisingly, it works better than one might expect, although probably not as well as the movie’s producers (or the audience) might have hoped.
The movie centers around Bridget (Diane Keaton), an upper-middle class Kansas City housewife who leads a carefree existence sucking her husband’s (Ted Danson) financial teat. When Don is downsized out of his job and takes up semipermanent residence on his couch, Bridget hatches a “brilliant” scheme to sneak cash out of the Federal Reserve. However, like most brilliant schemes, Bridget’s requires accomplices. She approaches Nina (Queen Latifah), a single mom who spends her days shredding millions of dollars in discontinued currency, and Jackie (Katie Holmes).
Bridget and company manage to get away with their crime several times, getting their husbands and boyfriends involved in the process, with the intention of getting out of debt and then quitting. However, the more Bridget gets, the more she wants.
Directed by Callie Khouri, “Mad Money” has a subtle women-vs.-men element to it, which in itself isn’t unwarranted or unwelcome. What grates a little is the overinflated sense of persecution “ and therefore, entitlement to steal “ that Bridget seems to possess, driving her to manipulate her friends and family into crimes that could land them all in prison for long stretches. Her petulance and greed, clearly (although perhaps unintentionally) casts a slightly slimy green sheen over what’s supposed to be a happy, female-empowerment-filled ending.