Where the Money Is
Directed by Marek Kanievska
Review by Matt Heffernan
Where have all the titles gone? On the same day that I saw Where the Money Is, I saw another (much better) film called Where the Heart Is. Rachel Griffiths is starring in a new film called Me Myself I, and Jim Carrey has the upcoming Me, Myself & Irene. The American distributor of East-West has to prominently feature the French title (Est-ouest) on the posters to avoid confusion with the British import East is East. Why can't they come up with better names? Maybe a better question is "Why can't they come up with better films?" -- but I digress.
Aging bank robber Henry Manning (Paul Newman) is transferred to a nursing home after allegedly suffering a stroke while in prison. His nurse, Carol (Linda Fiorentino), notices a few strange things that happen in his presence, and tries to prove that he is faking it. It takes pushing his wheelchair off a dock to do it, but nobody's going to make a fool of her.
She convinces him to pull a bank job with her. He says doing it with two is difficult, so she recruits her husband (Dermot Mulroney). The plan is in action, but Henry has to keep his con going on at the nursing home, and the prospect of being taken to a prison hospital still looms. Can he pull off one last caper, and help two crazy kids in the process?
Not only are titles unoriginal these days, but so are the basic plots. The whole stroke-con may be new, but nothing else in this film is so inspired. In fact, the film is nearly half-over before the premise is introduced, then the caper limps along after it. Remember how well this was handled in The Sting? I'm sure Newman does, and making this film must have been quite frustrating.
At its best, Where the Money Is works as a light comedy, with Fiorentino and Newman exchanging some amusing dialogue. Too bad it takes forever to get going, then just goes nowhere. I liked these characters, and wanted something more interesting to happen to them.
Newman has recently said that he wants to retire (again) after he performs in one more memorable role. Obviously, he does not consider Henry to be memorable, so even the film's star is giving it back-handed criticism. Its best chance is that people will buy tickets hoping to see Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Where the Money Is (2000)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings
Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan