Lee Gates (George Clooney - The Monuments Men) is the quick talking host of a financial TV show, aided by Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts - August: Osage County), his long time friend and director. But they find themselves in an extreme situation when a desperate young man by the name of Kyle (Jack O'Connell - Unbroken) manages to enter the studio and not only place a gun to Lee's head but forces him to put on a jacket full of explosives. Kyle had invested all his money in to a company Lee had recommended and he has lost everything and wants answers. As Lee and Patty try to keep the situation calm they also find themselves uncovering a conspiracy when it comes to what went on in the company. The question is: can they get answers quick enough before someone loses their life?
Ignore for a minute that "Money Monster" stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts or that it is directed by Jodie Foster. What you have is this fascinating real-time thriller as we have a hostage situation with two people desperately trying to get to the truth of a situation in order to appease a young man who believes he has been swindled. And it is fascinating because as the drama unfolds we discover we have some stock market duplicity going on as initially Lee doesn't believe Kyle's claims that something isn't on the level but the more they look into the matter the more he seems right. And in doing so we have this character development situation going on where it is not longer Kyle holding Lee hostage but Lee doing what he can to protect and help Kyle as he empathises with his desperate situation which is not just financial as with the police on the scene they want to shoot him.
But of course "Money Monster" stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts and for me there is something just wrong about their casting. Now don't get me wrong as they both deliver strong performances, as does Jack O'Connell, but at times watching George Clooney as Lee does not feel right, especially when we see him in his more over the top, self promoting moments. Yet the daft thing is that whilst I don't think Clooney & Roberts were right for the parts I can't think of two other actors who could have played the parts and brought to life the tender bond the characters have as long time working partners.
What this all boils down to is that "Money Monster" is certainly an entertaining movie which draws you in to this real-time situation. Yet for me there is something about the casting of George Clooney and Julia Roberts which doesn't quite feel right even though they deliver strong performances.