Mad Money on DVD. Sometimes, surprises can be good. I wanted to see this bank caper movie in which three women conspire to rob the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank because I am a fan of both Queen Latifa and Katie Holmes. Diane Keaton is not one of my favorites, but she steals the show as Bridget Cardigan, the criminal mastermind. Cardigan’s husband, played by Ted Danson, has been out of work from his middle manager position for more than a year when he announces that they are nearly $300,000 in debt and must sell their house. Bridget soon discovers that her homemaking skills have little value in today’s computer-driven workplace and so she ends up as a janitor at the Fed. Just being surrounded by all that cash and watching the out-of-circulation bills being destroyed triggers her larcenous impulses. In classic Bree Van de Kamp style, she quickly works out a plan to siphon off some of the cash and recruits Nina (Latifa), a single mom who needs cash to send her sons to private school, and Jackie (Holmes), a free spirit with dreams of traveling the world.
The film is not a roll-on-the-floor comedy, but the interplay between the three women and also between the women and their male companions is heartfelt and interesting. As was done in “Michael Clayton,” director Callie Khouri chooses to time-shift the film, showing the gang being arrested in the first scene before telling the story of the previous three years and how the characters reached that point. I really hate that filmatic device, but it matters less in comedies than in thrillers. Once the back story is completed, the actual ending to the movie is pretty good and after the disappointing “Untraceable,” it was nice to be pleasantly surprised for a change.