MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Wall Street’ sequel treats money as backdrop

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” played with my expectations.
It’s a sequel to 1987’s “Wall Street,” the Oliver Stone film that introduced us to the concept that “Greed is good.”
Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) uttered that famous line in the first film. This time, he’s freshly out of prison and no one’s there to meet him at the gate.
Jake (Shia LaBeouf) eventually tracks him down. Jake’s a trader on Wall Street, and he’s planning to marry Gekko’s daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan).
Jake arranges for a father and daughter reunion, and we learn there are a pile of issues, as well as a pile of cash, between the two.
I expected “Money Never Sleeps” to explore the characters who helped cause the country’s financial collapse in 2009.
There’s some of that here. Jake seeks revenge on the man (Josh Brolin) who ruined his mentor (Frank Langella). Brolin makes a nice and greasy bad guy.
In addition, Susan Sarandon plays Jake’s mom, a real estate agent who’s facing the abyss but refuses to acknowledge it. The economy certainly intrudes into the characters’ lives, but it mostly serves as a backdrop for the family story that plays out.
It is interesting to see Gekko try to reconnect with his daughter, while we also wonder about his motives. He’s a convicted felon, after all.
Charlie Sheen reprises his role as Bud Fox from the original “Wall Street,” and I got a good laugh out his short meeting with Gekko.
“Money Never Sleeps” includes an odd subplot about a guy who’s trying to make nuclear fusion possible. It’s a false note that runs throughout the film.
There’s never any proof that the plan will work, but otherwise savvy characters are willing to invest ridiculous sums of money into the project based on one character’s recommendation. It’s jarring to see smart money turn stupid.
All and all, I give “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” a B minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Wizard Review
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” a B plus: “I was I was smart enough to know more about what happened with the financial meltdown.”