'Wall Street' Sequel Needs More Evil

Greed may be good, as Gordon Gekko insisted once upon a time, but evil pays the bills. Sadly, there isn't enough evil to make the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps a good enough movie.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Let's invest a couple more minutes in this movie, find out if it's blue chip or toxic.

Here's our financial advisor Kenneth Turan.

KENNETH TURAN: Greed may be good, as Gordon Gekko insisted, but evil pays the bills. And the best parts of this erratic and downright messy film are the moments when the bad people take center stage.

So let's hear it for fearless 94-year-old Eli Wallach, who makes eccentric chirping noises and reminisces about the crash of 1929, and some applause for Josh Brolin, an arrogant investment banker with an ego the size of Antarctica. He's always looking for new hotshot traders to add to his team.

(Soundbite of movie, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps")

Mr. JOSH BROLIN (Actor): (as Bretton James) The mentor-prot�g� relationship is not emotional over anything. And I thought you might be a good addition to the Churchill Schwartz team. Am I mistaken?

Mr. SHIA LABEOUF (Actor): (as Jake Moore) Let me tell you something, Bretton. You are not my mentor. So you may talk about moral hazard - you are the moral hazard. You are the worst kind of toxic that this system is polluted with.

TURAN: Jake Moore, played by Shia LaBeouf, is more of a striving pipsqueak than a presence to be respected. His weakness is a black hole that sucks energy out of the movie. Sadly, he's also dating Gekko's estranged daughter and the great man wants to use him to get back in his child's good graces.

Gekko looks grizzled as well as charismatic, like a street person turned nightclub impresario. Now that he's out of prison, he attempts to reinvent himself as a celebrity writer and all-around prophet of fiscal doom.

This version of "Wall Street" can't seem to decide if Gekko is the bad to the bone lizard king he once was or someone who's seen the light, thank you very much, and is on the road to redemption. Or maybe he's both.

Only one thing is sure: Without him "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" would be even more of a snooze than it already is.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and The Los Angeles Times.

If you'd like some help in choosing a movie this weekend, you can find more reviews at our Web site, NPR.org.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Im Steve Inskeep.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.