This Week's Reviews: Money Monster and The Nice Guys

I ruined the weekend of May 21 with two films. One was barely tolerable and the other was so far beyond the pale that I am still angry with myself for spending money and time on it.

The first film was Money Monster. My interest in it was always faint, but the news that Jodie Foster was the director lured me into a trap. I have considerable respect for her work as a director, and I have no complaints for her work on this film. My problem is with the hackneyed plot and rather weak performances by George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The basic premise of a “terrorist” taking control of a live television broadcast is interesting, but the “terrorist” turns out to be a rather unsympathetic klutz. There are moments of interest, but not enough to justify the cost of admission.

My second film, The Nice Guys, was much worse and I left the theater with a slimy feeling. It is an unfortunate attempt to blend slapstick comedy with noir bleakness; the result is a misbegotten mish-mash. I chose the film only because of Russell Crowe; his performance as a thug-for-hire is good, but Ryan Gosling is pathetic as am inept private detective who takes his teen-age daughter to an orgy. The film is set in the 1970s, a decade of which I did not and still do not approve; it may be a variant of the Lethal Weapon series, but it never comes close to that level. Thee are strong hints of a sequel, but I don’t think there is enough Pepto-Bismol in the world to make that idea palatable.

Both films have serious problems with language. Save your money and your stomach lining.