– By Jonathan W. Hickman, Special to the Times-Herald
While it feels dated and bit cliched, 'Money Monster' sure is entertaining mainly due to a fine cast and solid direction.
This Wall Street thriller effectively reunites George Clooney and Julia Roberts (the two made an attractive pairing in the 'Ocean's' franchise). The story follows a day in the life of flashy financial television host Lee Gates (Clooney) as his popular show is hijacked by a disgruntled stock-holder in hopes of getting to the bottom of what might be a conspiracy.
When everyman Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell) takes Gates and his crew hostage in their studio live on the air, he demands that Gates help him figure out why a fund that was thought to be a sure thing lost $800 million in one day. As an incentive, Kyle straps a bomb vest to Gates and holds his thumb on a dead man's switch. Thus set in motion is the worst day of Gates life. Or is it?
Supported by his trusty producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), Gates is forced, for the first time, to ask tough questions. And maybe that means there's something to Kyle's lunacy.
Directed by Jodie Foster with zippy panache that elevates the sometimes witty but tired and contrived material, 'Money Monster' makes few heavy points (even though it tries) while scoring as a smart thriller. Call it 'Broadcast News' with a bomb.