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Movies like All About The Money, a new comedy-action-thriller catch-all starring names best remembered from twenty years ago, have no interest in what critics are inevitably going to say. It’s a screwball movie built on nostalgia and sight gags and has a built in audience. Truthfully, some of it works, sort of, filled with dumb characters doing even dumber things, and while that’s a formula that can sometimes work, most often, not so much.
All About The Money begins in the 80s, where three childhood best friends establish early that they are not entirely rowing with all their paddles. Thirty years later, Christopher Jefferson Johnson (Eddie Griffin), Vincent (Blake Freeman), and Kurt (Casper Van Dien) are less than the success they had hoped they would be. Christopher has a cheating wife and is barely holding on to a chop shop and Vincent is selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door in a pyramid scheme that has him pretty much stuck in the basement. In another pyramid. Kurt meanwhile at least has some money, or at least his wealthy wife does. When that breaks down though, the boys head to Colombia to get a vacation from life … and to try and take down the biggest drug cartel in the business in hopes of cashing in on the $25 million reward.
Written and directed by Freeman, All About The Money certainly isn’t lacking for energy, its hyper pace and speedy dialogue reminiscent of the 90s comedies it is clearly influenced by, and admittedly, there are some genuinely good bits, although most is set up and take downs that are hit or miss. It has a few moments of jarring violence, mostly at the hands of the very reliable Danny Trejo who plays the purposefully familiar lead henchman with a taste for bloodshed, though nearly all of its cartoonishly authentic if that makes sense.
Filled with over-the-top supporting characters, including a manic turn by Jon Gries as a covert guerrilla expert a little off his rocker (and perhaps immortal), they and the three leads aggressively stomp all over the wide line between decency, common sense, and occasional offensiveness. That’s nothing new of course, and in the right hands, can be genre-defining. Needless to say, that’s not the case here, but, there is some good humor and a few solid laughs, but it’s not sharp enough or critical enough of the genre it lampoons, maybe looking to skewer some out-dated tropes though only succeeding in propping them up instead.
While it positions itself as a potential franchise builder, it has an ending that misfires, supposing we will want to see them do more. It leaves the movie a carefree experience that, especially for fans of these actors, will have spark for some memories. Griffin hasn’t lost his acerbic delivery and Van Dien is funny playing against type. Taken as it is, All About The Money is a exactly what it aims to be. Nothing more.
Movie description: All About The Money is a 2017 thriller about three friends who take a vacation in a third world country only to wind up in scheme to capture America's Most Wanted.
Director(s): Blake Freeman
Actor(s): Danny Trejo, Casper Van Dien, Mindy Robinson
Genre: Comedy, Action