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Money Talks

(This review originally appeared in the August 21-27, 1998 Long Island Voice.)

Reviewed by Beth Hannan Rimmels

The phrase, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, doesn’t apply to Money Talks. Star Chris Tucker makes the movie. Everything else is secondary.

Unfortunately, the plot is one thing that takes a back seat to Tucker’s riffs, but, unlike many comedians’ first star vehicle, it does actually have a plot. Tucker is Franklin Hatchet, a scam artist who runs a car wash that’s a one-stop shopping point for scalped tickets, VCRs, etc. Crusading reporter James Russell (Charlie Sheen) helps to set up Hatchet's arrest for his sweeps week story, which starts the ball rolling. Hatchett ends up handcuffed to the wrong crook during a prison transfer and is swept up in a bloody escape that leaves the guards and prisoners dead and, Tucker hunted as an accessory.

Tucker gets away from the bad guys and hooks up with Sheen, who’s hot for the story to save his job and sweeps week, so he wants to keep Tucker under wraps until Monday. But his pre-wedding party is the same weekend so he has to bring Tucker to his fiancee’s (Heather Locklear) mansion to meet her parents (Paul Sorvino and Veronica Carwright). At this point, Tucker goes into comedy overdrive and some of his funniest scenes are with Sorvino, who thinks Tucker is Vic Damone and Diahann Carroll’s son.

Would someone please give Cartwright a role that require her to act like she’s sucking lemons? The poor woman is so typecast as a disapproving bitch that it’s pathetic. And I hope David Warner was paid well for a wasted role as Sheen’s boss.

Money Talks desolves into fairly standard violent chases as Sheen and Tucker evade the police while setting up the real villains. A few stunts are clever but for the most part, it’s formula. Tucker shines while Sheen grimaces through his role.

Tucker pretty much is the film, though he gets some able assistance from Sorvino, ?Elisa Neal as Tucker’s no-nonsense girlfriend and Aaron (Michael Wright) as his childhood friend/underworld connection. Wright is so charismatic in his brief scenes that Sheen comes across as whiter than white bread.

Money Talks isn’t great, but it is funny. I’m looking forward to seeing Tucker in a film that he doesn’t have to carry like a deadweight through the desert.

Review 1997 Long Island Voice. Photographs 1997 Unversal Pictures.