January 28, 2008 12:00 PM

Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes | PG-13 |


Bridget Cardigan (Keaton), a pampered housewife, takes a job as a cleaning lady at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City after her husband (Ted Danson) loses his fancy corporate job. Soon she discovers an extracurricular sideline: helping herself to old cash scheduled for shredding. “It’s not really like stealing,” she explains primly, “it’s more like recycling.”

Keaton is the primary reason—and reason enough—to see Mad Money, a cheerful, scrappy caper comedy that is eager to please and does just that. Her Bridget becomes positively giddy, and a little greedy, once she figures out the weak spot in the bank’s security system, and recruits two coworkers (Latifah and Holmes) to be her partners-in-crime. Soon all three are stuffing piles of cash into their bras and panties. (“I’ll bet Victoria never had this particular secret,” Bridget wisecracks, busily cramming bills inside her shirt.)

Reaching into her bag of reliable tics—nervous fidgeting, grimacing, flicking hair off her face, etc.—Keaton makes Bridget almost scary in her enthusiastic embrace of crime. She and Latifah have a strong rapport, and Danson is amusing as Bridget’s helpful spouse. Holmes, stuck in the underwritten role of a young ditz, would be in danger of fading into the wallpaper if she wasn’t so strikingly tall.

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