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Mad Money

Callie Khouri's heist comedy has some of the vibe of a 1970s caper.

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Films such as Fun With Dick and Jane depicted the middle-class embracing crime as a stop-gap against an ever-demanding consumer culture. Bridget (Diane Keaton) is an over-educated empty-nester; suddenly facing huge bills, she takes a janitorial position at a Federal Reserve facility where they discard old money. Opportunity? You bet. She enlists two fellow grunts as conspirators -- a sensible single mom (Queen Latifah) and a ditsy young thing (Katie Holmes). In this genre, the real fun is in the take-down, and this one is amusing enough. Plus, the film gets in a few digs at the invisibility of women in service positions. But while Mad Money is a pleasant diversion, it could have benefited from a sharper edge. I wish Khouri, who broke out penning Thelma and Louise, had bumped the film up from romp: Couldn't we use a biting satire about our contemporary live-easy-at-any-cost ethos?

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