Although hindered by the poor critical reception, Mad Money proved to be a bit of a surprise hit for Anchor Bay. While the comedy grossed only $20 million domestically (and only an additional $5 overseas), the studio none the less seemed thrilled with its performance. Despite seeing a theatrical release in January and a DVD release in May, the film is just now making its debut on the high definition Blu-ray format. Those who saw the film during its short theatrical run will no doubt enjoy watching it again in high-definition, allowing them to count every bill that comes across the screen.
Academy Award® winner Diane Keaton, Academy Award® nominee Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes are all in for the crime of their lives! Deep inside the most secure bank in America, three desperate women from very different worlds cook up the most unlikely heist of the century: Smuggle out millions of dollars in worn-out currency headed for a Federal Reserve shredder every day. Taking the cash is going to be easy… but getting away with it will be insane! Ted Danson, Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore), Roger Cross (24) and Stephen Root (Office Space) co-star in this wild comedy caper from the creator of Themla & Louise about chasing your dreams, beating the system and paying the price for Mad Money!
With all of the bad reviews floating around for this film, I was genuinely surprised at how non-awful it really was. True, it wasn’t exactly the best film either, but it was a lot of fun to watch if you embraced the absurdity of it all rather than stare directly into the glaring stupidity of it all. If you haven’t guessed by now the whole plot of the film is something reminiscent of an Oceans film, only this time it’s completely with women (and a much smaller team). Like the Oceans series, this film is fun to watch, but while you can genuinely believe the Oceans set ups at times and how it’s pulled off, what comes out of Mad Money is far from believable.
But in its absurdity is where you’ll find the most enjoyment from this film, with the three stars occasionally employing Looney Tunes style antics to get their tricks across in an attempt to rob the place blind. You begin to feel for each of the characters plights as well, although Latifah’s character is the only one whom you truly believe needs the money, as Keaton’s character merely hatched the scheme so she wouldn’t have to give up her fancy house and lifestyle, while Holmes character can just become downright annoying at times. None of the starlets acting talent is really used in this one and in the end it’s really just a big, fancy girl-power bank robbing movie. The supporting cast, as little as they’re in it, is entertaining as well, with Ted Danson delivering quite a hilarious performance in the film from beginning to end.
Another area in which the film kind of lost me is how it progressed; it started out at the end and then went into the beginning to work itself back to how the film started. This isn’t exactly a new form of storytelling but as far as I can tell it was used only to stretch the run time here, as it gave us little to no back-story about what was going on and since we ended up seeing nearly all of it a second time, it seemed a bit superfluous. Again, this isn’t a major flaw of the story, but it does create a bit of a needless false start.
The films other flaws are really just in how ridiculous it gets. As previously stated that’s also part of its charm, so faulting it for what is sometimes genuinely entertaining (if you let it be) would be a bit harsh. Simply put this is a corny film from start to finish. The money stealing plot isn’t entirely unbelievable, but there’s always that nagging feeling in the back of your head like this is in no way possible or grounded in reality. Unfortunately the film wraps up with something that is grounded in reality, which kind of kills the vibe. It also essentially returns our characters to the same scenario they were in at the beginning of the film, so…what the hell was the point of watching all of that if nothing changed.
Overall this is worth a Rental at least, but don’t expect any pure gold out of this film. I was entertained, which is more than I figured I would be going into it, so it had that much going for it by the end of the film.
Anchor Bay has released Mad Money in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with an insert advertising their format. The menu system follows the usual Anchor Bay set up with a scrolling menu on the far left, while the rest of the screen is taken up by rotating video clips.
Video for this film arrives in an AVC encoded 2.40:1 1080p video transfer that looks nice for the most part. The entire transfer has a bit of a glowy haze to it, never really letting up to allow the character details to come through fully. I’m not sure if the glow effect was intentional or not, but it is a bit of a hindrance to the overall transfer. Still, the image is better than what you’d get from DVD so if you are in the market for an upgrade with this title (for whatever strange reason that may be) then you won’t be too disappointed…but you won’t be floored by the image clarity either. The audio, a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, is similarly disappointing, as the film is mostly dialogue driven which forces it to be front channel focused. There is some surround usage and LFE output, but nothing major.
Moving onto the extras we have a commentary with director Callie Khouri that actually tosses out some interesting information here, mainly with regard to the Federal Reserve’s actual participation with the film. There is a lot of dead air here though, so you may want to have the fast forward button ready to skip to the talky parts. Also included is a short EPK style “Making Of” that runs around eight minutes and finally a round of Deleted and Alternate Scenes that runs about ten minutes.
Overall the extras aren’t bad and the deleted/alternate scenes appear to be exclusive to the Blu-ray release, but I doubt that’s enough to get most people to upgrade. For a film of this style, it’s a safe bet to stick with the DVD release, as the AVC encoding and TrueHD 5.1 tracks are nothing special. On top of that, this one is really only worth a Rental anyway.
Mad Money is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.