(director: Marek Kanievska; screenwriters: E. Max Frye/Topper Lilien/Carroll Cartwright/story by Frye; cinematographer: Thomas Burstyn; editors: Sam Craven/Garth Craven/Dan Lebental; cast: Paul Newman (Henry), Linda Fiorentino (Carol), Dermot Mulroney (Wayne), Susan Barnes (Foster), Anne Pitoniak (Tetlow), Bruce Mac Vittie (Karl); Runtime: 89; USA Films; 2000)

“The film misfires because of its weak script, lack of punch to its comedy, and the plot was too incredible to believe or become absorbed in.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A lighthearted comedy farce built around a crime caper, but is mostly built around the star power of Paul Newman. The film misfires because of its weak script, lack of punch to its comedy, and the plot was too incredible to believe or become absorbed in. But if you’re a fan of the 75-year-old sexy actor, Paul Newman, it must be good to see that he still looks good, can turn on the charm, and can still act with the best of them.

Henry Manning (Newman) is a bank robber felon who had a stroke in prison and because they have no beds available is transferred to a private-convalescent home in a comatose state while strapped to a wheelchair. His caring nurse, in this rural Oregon town, Carol (Fiorentino), is awed by his presence, but thinks he’s faking the stroke. She does a lap dance, which fails to arouse him; but this doesn’t stop a further attempt to uncover if he’s faking the illness. After getting permission to take Henry on a picnic with her unambitious husband Wayne (Dermot), she throws him from the wheelchair into the water. Happy to learn that the bank robber couldn’t pull the wool over her eyes the former high school prom queen who married the prom king decides that Henry, who faked his illness so he could escape, will rob a bank with her and she could thereby get enough bread to escape from this humdrum town. Wayne is jealous of Newman, who could still attract a beautiful woman, but he reluctantly goes along with his wife’s idea to be a bank robber at the risk of losing her if he doesn’t.

Newman plans to rob an armored car at the start of its route. The guards are not as alert then because there’s no money collected, yet. This gives Newman an excuse to do some acting, as he goes to different business establishments to collect the money disguised as a guard.

The story itself is disappointing, but this is the kind of sexy and amoral role that Fiorentino is very good at. She plays games with her dense husband and is tickled by the fascination she has for Newman, and in these characterizations the film bubbled. It’s a somewhat pleasing lightweight story and that could be enough to satisfy a certain type of audience. But if you really want my opinion, I wouldn’t go two steps out of my way to see this film.

Where the Money Is Poster

REVIEWED ON 10/1/2001 GRADE: C –