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Money Monster

Predictable but engaging, well acted but not very believable, MONEY MONSTER unleashes a great cast on a pretty simple story.

George Clooney stars as Cable TV star Lee Gates, a hugely successful, sensationalist star of a financial advice show. Think Jim Kramer mashed up with Maury Povich and you're close.

Julia Roberts plays his loyal producer Patty, who's fed up with the grind and Gates's schtick and ready to move on.

Gates loves to hit giant buttons on set, rain down fake dollars and give the everyday Joe tips on investing and money markets.

When one of those viewers loses everything on one of Gates flippant stock tips, he takes over the studio during a broadcast at gunpoint, straps a bomb vest on Lee and threatens to blow up a block of Manhattan.

Here's the good news, our borderline psychotic every-man Kyle is played by Jack O'Connell (Unbroken) with as much nuance and realism as the script allows.

The bad news is that it's hard to get dragged too into the suspense when Kyle's rationale and plan seem as driven by the world view of Clooney and Director Jodie Foster about capitalism and free enterprise as they do any normal human reactions.

What's Kyle's end game? In reality, what is his end game to the hostage situation?

The story serves up a strong bad guy in the oily, wealthy businessman Walt Camby, well played by Dominic West (The Wire).

The last third of the film is pretty hard to believe as Gates bonds with Kyle and takes the longest perp walk in history across Manhattan's financial district. There is NO WAY any of it could happen.

Of course, it sets up a well crafted and predictable but undeniably well executed conclusion to the story, but at the cost of any realism.

Clooney is charming, Roberts is very good and O'Connell is excellent.

It's entertaining, but never believable.

Think about the scene in which the police get Kyle's girlfriend on the phone during hostage negotiations and ask yourself two questions.

1. Why would the police keep the line open that long?

2. What would Kyle do in real life at the end of that phone call?

Just one example of why MONEY MONSTER'S biggest problem is the absurd script. Better at clever one liners than realistic human interaction, it let's this cast down.

We'll cash it out with a C.

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