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WHERE THE MONEY IS

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Paul Newman, Linda Fiorentino, Dermont Mulroney
Director: Marek Kanievska
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.0, Dolby Surround
Video: Widescreen 1.78:1 Anamorphic Transfer
Studio: USA Entertainment
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Length: 89 Minutes
Release Date: December 19, 2000

Film ***

If there was a primary joy in watching Where the Money Is, it can be summed up in two words, Paul Newman. Watching the veteran actor perform in this film had me smiling all the way through. When Newman did the brilliant character piece Nobody's Fool in 1994, rumors surfaced about that it would be his last gig at acting, but it wasn't. Having garnered yet another Oscar nomination for that film, the actor returned to the screen in 1998's Twilight and did a wonderful job playing father to Kevin Costner in 1999's Message in a Bottle. Now comes Where the Money Is, a light but enjoyable caper comedy that pairs the smooth and cool Newman with sexy siren Linda Fiorentino, who ignite supremely wonderful chemistry. The bank robbing plot is anything but original, but the execution of the performances is where this movie gets its well deserved credit.

Newman plays Henry Manning, who at the opening of the movie arrives at a nursing home in a wheelchair, having apparently suffered a stroke. Carol (Fiorentino), one of the nurses, suspects that Henry is faking his condition, and goes to great lengths of forcing Henry to confess that he is doing so. She even tries to tempt Henry with a kinky lap dance, but it doesn't work. She pushes him in his wheelchair into a lake, after which the veteran bank robber emerges from the water, faces Carol saying, “Ok, so you're smart.”

Carol has a sneaky good plan. She wants Henry to help in an armored truck heist. Her reason for resorting to robbery is due to the fact that her marriage and life is consisted of absolute boredom. Since she's in the company of one of the most successful robbers in history, why wouldn't she want to do it? At first her husband, Wayne (Dermont Mulroney), is skeptic about the whole idea, especially since he's given the impression that Carol is cozying up to Henry, but he eventually gives in to the plan. The three then set out to retrieve their desired loot.

It helps to have this level of talent in a plot like this, which has been done plenty of times before. I strongly think that if it had not been for the presence of Newman, the movie wouldn't be as enjoyable. How many other actors can you think of who are at age 75, and can still define ultra coolness in just about every single movement and mannerism? Newman is a guy who can still crack a smile and light up your day. Watching him perform with Linda Fiorentino is a major plus. Fiorentino defines sexiness, in my opinion just by speaking in the low tone of hers, and she and Newman come across as unlikely but outstanding screen couple, even though their characters never really spark a love affair.

The result is a crowd pleaser of a movie with rich and winning performances from terrific performers playing really smart characters, which is what audiences want to see in movies. Paul Newman proves once again he can't lose, especially when playing a character of this type, which is reminiscent of such roles as Henry Gondorff in The Sting and even a little of Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler and The Color of Money.

Video ***1/2

A transfer that comes across as crisp as a hundred dollar bill. USA, which hasn't really created a four star transfer just yet, comes very close with this video transfer, which is consistently clear and crisp throughout the entire viewing, despite a bit of very brief softness in a couple scenes, but that comes across as hardly a distraction. An overall pleasing transfer.

Audio **1/2

This is a film made up simply of dialogue and not much of anything else, which doesn't provide much opportunity for the audio. This time around, USA has issued a 5.0 Digital track, so we're really missing one channel of the usual audio treatment, which is why I can't figure out why it is used in the first place. For what the movie has to offer, dialogue comes through as good as it can.

Features *

Only a trailer. USA hasn't really excelled in this department, other than its release of Being John Malkovich.

Summary:

Where the Money Is pleases and engages with the winning talent that it has. Fans of Paul Newman should definitely take advantage of this movie, as should those who enjoy caper movies.