Retro Review: Where the Money Is

Written: April 15, 2000

Paul Newman returns to what he does best, the con and the sting. Or so that’s what the trailer says.

Paul Newman plays Henry Manning, an inmate sentenced to life for a series of bank robberies. Henry decides if he is ever going to escape he must fake a stroke and be transferred to a recovery hospital. At the hospital, Henry’s plans are uncovered by a nurse (played by Linda Fiorentino). Eventually the nurse decides that this old bank robber may be her ticket out of the deadbeat town she grew up in.

“Where the Money Is” is one of those films that would have been made thirty years ago and could have been a classic.

Revisiting that feel and inspiration was breath of fresh air that captivated me. Imagining the likes of Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe in the leads, made me yearn to revisit the classics.

The reason I felt that it revisited these great films was the innocent chemistry between Newman and Fiorentino.

The laughs and classic tone made by the stars and the plot was so much like the films of yesteryear.

An example of the return to the classic formula is the whole armored truck heist. In most of today’s films there would have been a huge shoot-out and one of the protagonists would have been shot. But in this film we have a clever way of getting the truck and its contents. Let’s hit the bumbling oafs and grab the money as we take their shift for a night. This was great and intelligent not brainless like a lot the heist films of today.

Another classic element was the character of Fiorentino. Its not often that we see a character like her anymore.

Her only flaw is that she wants to help herself get out of her deadbeat life. In films of today when we find a character like her we usually witness her character butchered all for the sake of sacrificing innocence to make a point. Ok, there are parts in the film that don’t make her out to be very innocent but I believe she is at her core. All she wants is a better life.

Universal Pictures and USA Films’ ad campaign for the film dubs it as a sequel or a film similar to other classic Newman pictures like “The Hustler” and “The Sting”.

The only thing this film has in common with those classics is it innocent humor and smart writing. I have to say this is a welcomed return to what used to make movies so good.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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