A fun view of the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After my viewing of “Dumb Money,” I was getting into a conversation with a young woman about how congress and Wall Street can play a pretty messed up game. It’s too convoluted for me to completely understand it, but I agree that Wall Street’s methods don’t always make sense. They can make people rich or poor and happy or mad. This is just me interpreting this.
Based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Antisocial Network,” this movie takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic (a little before almost everyone gets their vaccines), and tells the true story about how investors on the Reddit page r/wallstreetbets made a short squeeze because of how two hedge funds have bet that GameStop’s shares would fall.
In summation, everyday people made the video game store one of the hottest companies in the world. This is when everyone says: “Holy F***ing Sh*t.”
The A-list cast is led by Paul Dano as Keith Gill, the blogger whose videos inspire people to invest in GameStop, and refuses to sell his stocks. He has a wife (Shailene Woodley), baby girl, delivery boy brother (Pete Davidson), and parents (Clancy Brown and Kate Burton), who all wish he’d make a rational decision with his winnings.
His followers consist of a GameStop employee named Marcus (Anthony Ramos), two TikTok college students Riri (Myha’la Herrold from “Bodies Bodies Bodies”) and Harmony (Talia Ryder from “Sometimes Never Rarely Always”), and a hospital nurse named Jennifer (America Ferrera). They’re all excited to see their numbers going up.
The enemies, however, consist of hedge fund managers Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio), Kenneth Griffin (Nick Offerman), Melvin Capital Management’s Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen), and Robinhood co-founders Vlad Tenev (Sebastian Stan) and Baiju Bhatt (Rushi Kota). They all manage to turn the tables on the young investors, and things spin out of control.
2023 has not only been a year for threequels, but also for movies that like to lampoon business in their own brutally funny and honest ways. There was “Air,” which was about how Nike scored a major shoe deal with Michael Jordan, and there was “Blackberry,” which was about the rise and fall of the Blackberry phone. And now, we have “Dumb Money,” which was directed by Craig Gillespie, and knows how to be entertaining.
Given my autistic condition, I was a little offended by the disabled slurs, but I was still able to focus more on how this R-rated comedy actually knows how to use cursing. Last month, I had to deal with the nonstop F-Bombs of “Strays.” Movies like that try way to hard to make people laugh, and assume forced cursing is supposed to be hilarious. The way everyone curses in “Dumb Money” is honest, and sometimes very funny. Not because we’re hearing the fowl language, but because of how the characters handle their ups and downs. They all express their own views of the money game with the right attitude.
Dano delivers with a similar consistency as Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network,” Davidson brings on his wise guy act as his brother, both Herrold and Ryder excel with spirits, and Rogen continues to break free from his raunchy territory. It’s an A-list project that satirizes the meme world, as well as this particular money game.
Whether or not you’re a gamer or a Wall Street investor, you’re still able to get some laughs and anger with “Dumb Money.” I’m sure other critics would say this movie isn’t as smart as it should have been, but I think I’ll take these dumb people over the ones in “Vacation Friends 2.” This is one of the most entertaining movies of the year.
In Select Theaters Tomorrow and Expands Nationwide September 29
This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.