There are so many movies that have come out in the past few years that have focused on the current time period we live in. These films have acted as a time capsule in some way or another. And it has quite honestly become exhausting seeing movies about COVID. I think it’s safe to say most people, if not everyone, has a general understanding of what it is/how it affects people.
Craig Gillespie manages to tell a movie that is about COVID. And he also tells one about the stock market. In particular, he tackles the GameStop phenomenon and explains it in a way that is engaging and interesting to its audience. In doibg so, they’re not just repeatedly smacked in the head with information. Dumb Money certainly tries to mimic The Social Network and The Big Short. It doesn’t reach any of those other movies’ heights. But it certainly holds its own and is a fun outing. It explains the Gamestop situation well enough.
The movie focuses on Keith Gill/Roaring Kitty (Paul Dano) as he has a very unpopular YouTube channel. In that channel, he looks at stocks and shares his opinions on the stock market and what should be bought and sold, etc etc. However, he doesn’t hide behind any smoke and mirrors and he also shows off his financial folder. In doing so, his audience knows that if he’s holding he’s holding, and if he’s selling he’s selling.
Everything changes though when Keith starts talking about shorting and what hedge funds are trying to do to a company he hold near and dear to his heart, because after all he is a nerd. GameStop, one of the largest North American physical stores to sell gaming needs and accessories, is getting their stock shorted. So when they inevitably go bankrupt the hedge fund guys get rich while the store inevitably falls off the face of the planet.
What Keith does is that he hopes the stock doesn’t get shorted and he can save GameStop. His video explodes on the internet. A subscribed to the subreddit Wall Street Bets (r/wallstreetbets) posts his video and it becomes a viral sensation. Meme upon meme comes up, and there is finally a fighting chance for the little guys, such as Jenny (America Ferrera) and Marcus (Anthony Ramos). Meanwhile, the hedge fund guys Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen), Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Ken Griffin (Nick Offerman) are all feeling the squeeze that this upheaval is causing. It is a massive underdog story that tells the true story of the GameStop, diamond hands, ape strong together. It’s a story that boasts some great performances and creates a fun movie, explaining the phenomenon that most people don’t understand yet.
Dumb Money works because of the performances in the movie that help convey the story. They truly draw the line about the ‘good’ guys and the ‘bad’ guys. There is nothing inherently wrong with anything any one did in the movie. But still, the level of scum is completely off the charts. Paul Dano is playing Roaring Kitty/Keith Gill with an infectious innocence and wholeheartedness. He’s not here to screw anyone, he’s here to help the little guy and protect a company he cares about.
And while America Ferrera and Vincent D’Onofrio are side characters who do bring a radiant presence to the film. Seth Rogen and Nick Offerman deliver some sleazeball performances and show how terrible these hedge fund guys are. There is also one moment in the film that has a call back later with Anthony Ramos where he raps and dances to Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’ which is an absolutely scene stealer.
Dumb Money boasts a strong cast and some truly standout performances. It also tells the story in a fun unconventional way. It doesn’t reach the heights of the movies its trying to mimic. But it certainly stands on its own and creates its own world to live in. The performances are a blast, the story is engaging. And the result is a fun informative film that explains a recent phenomenon not everyone may understand. So raise your diamond hands in the air and get ready to see Dumb Money.
- Rated: 15A
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, History
- Release Date: 9/21/2023
- Directed by: Craig Gillespie
- Starring: America Ferrera, Anthony Ramos, Nick Offerman, Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley
- Produced by: Aaron Ryder, Craig Gillespie, Teddy Schwarzman
- Written by: Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo
- Studio: Black Bear Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Ryder Picture Company, Sony Pictures, Stage 6 Films