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Film / Mad Money

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Mad Money is a 2008 American comedy-crime film, starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, with Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Roger Cross, and Adam Rothenberg in supporting roles. It is loosely based on the 2001 British Made-for-TV Movie Hot Money, itself based on the real-life "Loughton Incinerator Thefts" (see The Other Wiki for more).

A trio of workers at the Federal Reserve Bank Kansas City hatch a scheme to steal bills marked for shredding. Hilarity Ensues!

Not to be confused with the financial advice program hosted by Jim Cramer, although the characters do watch the show at one point in the film.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Baby of the Bunch: Jackie is the youngest of the three women by a significant margin, is portrayed as easily flattered or excited, and is constantly listening to music on her headphones.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: The police interrogator tells Nina that she's too late to strike a deal, because Jackie already did. He lets that sink in for a moment, only to tell her that Jackie bargained for immunity for Nina.
  • Becoming the Mask: Don advises Jackie's husband Bob to explain his Suspicious Spending by saying he's a day trader. Bob gets genuinely interested in it and starts getting involved in the stock market for real, doing quite well despite his general stupidity. Unfortunately, the amount of money he puts into buying those stocks is Suspicious Spending itself and attracts the IRS.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bridget and Don's neighbor Bryce, a tax lawyer whose expertise proves to be just as valuable as a criminal lawyer's when the conspiracy is exposed.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Played with. Jackie caves and confesses, but she does it to secure immunity for Nina so the latter can go home to her children.
    • Also, Bridget asks the others if they really believed she had abandoned them. They all did. She doesn't seem too offended by this, as it was a pretty reasonable assumption.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Don urges his wife and the others to quit after the first robbery, but Bridget wants to keep on stealing money.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: The others stage an intervention after seeing Jackie's needles, but she's actually diabetic. However, Jackie takes it as a compliment that they care enough about her to do that.
  • Pride: Glover loves boasting about his security system and refuses to admit that his bank could have been robbed, even when the robbers' conviction depends on it.
  • Secret Test of Character: Bridget does a version of this seeking bad character when she asks a potential accomplice for her robbery scheme if a bill on the ground is his. To her chagrin, he says it isn't and turns it in to Lost and Found.
  • Title Drop: Bridget's mother apparently told her that a woman should always keep a stash of "mad money". Jackie wonders whether it's money for when you go mad, or when you get mad.
  • Trans-Atlantic Original: The 2001 BBC TV comedy-drama Hot Money was adapted and re-scripted for the American market. The story dramatizes real events at a Bank of England destruction facility for old banknotes, where lowly cleaning staff embittered by Margaret Thatcher's destruction of the North of England and consequent breadline existence worked out where there was a big security gap and how to exploit it. People involved with the original story and the British TV version of real events have said the American adaptation verges on Hollywood History.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: How the trio get the money out of the Fed. Nina even references the trope namer.
  • White-Collar Crime: Technically, although whether any of the characters' actual jobs (janitor, pusher, shredder, security guard) would be considered "white collar" is open for debate.
  • Worthy Opponent: The bank examiner who helped discover the stealing and Bridget treat each other with amused respect during their last two interactions.