In short, Clooney plays a guy named Lee Gates, a fictional cable TV star who hosts one of those high energy financial shows. He's rich, arrogant, and is disliked by most of the people who work with him on the show. Roberts plays the director who is leaving the show because of Gates. During a live episode, the show is literally taken hostage by Kyle, (Jack O'Connel) at gunpoint, and a suicide vest he places on Gates.
Kyle is a down and out delivery man who lost all his mother's inheritance on the advice of Gates on a previous episode. Now he wants answers from the company he invested in, and Gates himself, as it all plays out live on television. What kind of lies have been told to him and investors world wide, as this company lost 800 million in a day? This movie has been billed as anti-Wall Street, even anti-Capitalism, and yes they do that to a degree, but there is more.
Yes, they make Wall Street look bad, and yes they make big business look greedy. But what this movie did more to my eye was make the New York City Police look horrible. They are portrayed as stupid, unprepared, bloodthirsty, and amazingly incompetent. This movie is trying so hard to make such heavy handed social commentary all around, it forgets to be really good, and settles for also ran. But this has become a Clooney staple recently. This movie again reeks of "I am the smartest man in the world." And this does not connect with the average movie goer.
Let's start with the good. It's short, this moves nicely, and is edited extremely well. There are nice elements to this movie that make it easy to watch. But it stumbles with so many really questionable choices, in plot and in execution, it will more than likely leave many less than pleased. This movie is trying so hard to say something, it forgot to be something. It only commits to being agenda laden.
This movie is also badly cast. It's just tough not to see George Clooney, the guy. And hard to see Lee Gates the character. His international fame is a problem here, as his cred with this character is highly questionable. But being fair, this has become a big problem for him the past few movies, with the Descendants being the exception (which is terrific). Roberts is fine in a role she is not asked to do much in, and she is totally over casted. But they needed the name. O' Connell is quite good as our troubled man. He works because you believe him, as his lack of international notoriety gives him cred. I'm not buying the other two.
Money Monster. Honestly? Very forgettable. It'll be a cable TV weekend movie though for years between Law And Order marathons.