Money Talks

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Blue Velvet

Known for directing rap and R&B videos, first time feature film director Brett Ratner takes on "Money Talks," an action comedy written by the the authors of "Toy Story." Ratner compares the film's duo, Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen, to Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder and even Eddie Murhpy and Nick Nolte. Certainly the story breathes elements of "48 hours" with the unlikely coupling of Tucker and Sheen set against grand scale explosions and glitzy shots of Los Angeles. Yet it's clearly the performances of Paul Sorvino, ingenue supporting cast member Michael Wright, and animated Chris Tucker who lend the comedic and entertainment value in "Money Talks."

Chris Tucker is Franklin Hatchell, a young wiry black car wash attendant and ticket scalper extrordinaire who talks nonstop in a high pitched wail. Charlie Sheen is James Russel, a hardnosed TV crime reporter who interviews Franklin, tips the police, and films Franklin's arrest on charges of ticket scalping. On the bus to prison, Franklin manages to get tangled in the escape mission of an evil fellow inmate named Villard. Villard is a Belgian diamond thief whose friends rescue him and kill almost everyone on the bus. Franklin miraculously escapes Villard's entourage but not before hearing where Villard stashed millions of dollars worth of diamonds. The media is quick to pin the bus murders on Villard and Franklin. With the police and Villard's gang after him, Franklin turns to James Russel for help. Having been fired, James needs Franklin to break the bus hijack story first. But James is getting married to a lofty heiress in 48 hours so keeping Franklin nearby becomes tricky. Franklin seeks out an underground friend for firearm protection and then sets out to nab Villard's diamonds.

Memorable moments come from Paul Sorvino who plays James's ridiculously rich father-in-law and newcomer Michael Wright who plays a turf lord who grew up with Franklin. Above all, Chris Tucker hams the spotlight with his sassy childish demeanor, maneuvering like a human pinball among the wealthy and the dangerous. Sheen is around to only act as a grounding point. "Money Talks" may not be the start of a beautiful friendship between Sheen and Tucker but it surely is a raw flashy film as memorable as cartoon episode.

© 1997 Blue Velvet Air Date: 08/20/97

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