A small film that barely got a release last year before exiting theaters, "Where The Money Is" is a charming little feature, not a complete success but entertaining anyways. Paul Newman plays Henry, an old bank robber who finds himself thrown in a hospital when he has a stroke - but, did he really? Watching over him while he's in a coma are a nurse (Linda Fiorentino) and her husband(Dermot Mulroney), a couple who have lived together in this small town since they were young.
Of course, the two have a plan that includes robbing a bank, but it's only if she can get Henry to wake up out of his coma. I will spoil the fact that he does wake up since it's almost impossible to talk about the movie without mentioning it, but I won't spoil the if, when, why or wheres of it. Newman is easily the best thing about the movie; even in older age he still is energetic and lively. There's only one problem - while Newman can certainly make the movie more watchable with his performance, he can't save it.
The early parts of the movie are remarkably slow. Although Newman and Fiorentino are quite good, we just aren't given a reason to really care about the proceedings. It's never a good situation when a 90 minute movie feels slow enough to remark that additional editing could be helpful. The screenplay does deliver some decent lines, but the whole thing lacks enough spark or energy to keep the audience interested. Even when the plan does begin to take shape and things seem like they're going to pick up, the movie never comes together as we believe that Newman's character would be a robber, but the other two are never convincing nor are these scenes at all exciting.
A couple of decent performances by Newman and Fiorentino just aren't able to make the otherwise slow movie spark.
VIDEO: USA Films seems to be rather hit and miss at times when it comes to video quality, but I'm pleased to say that their anamorphic transfer for "Where The Money Is" is pretty respectable, if not remarkable. The movie is presented in 1.85:1, and sharpness & detail are fairly good. The movie seems a little soft at times, especially during some of the dimly lit interior scenes, but this is a minor complaint.
There aren't too many flaws to note throughout the presentation - a slight trace of pixelation once or twice, and a couple of print flaws in the way of minor marks. The great majority of the movie is clear and clean. Colors are accurate and natural, although there are some times where they seem slightly subdued. Overall, a presentation that's slightly above average.
SOUND: The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, but the presentation really isn't given much of a chance to open up during the movie. Most of the film is certainly dialogue-driven with nothing beyond that. The music does sound good, and contains some good older tunes paired in with Mark Isham's score. Rarely though do the surrounds see any use - the few times they are used are minimal enough to not even be that noticable. Offers the basics - no more, no less.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: The trailer, production notes in the insert and DVD-ROM web-link.
Final Thoughts: "Where The Money Is" is maybe worth a rental for fans of Newman - otherwise, I'd skip it.
The Film C+
Video 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Audio: 83/B = (332/400 possible points)
Extras: 71/C- = (213/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: C-
DVD GRADE: B-