Money Talks

on August 22, 1997 by Dwayne E. Leslie
   Because a struggling investigative journalist, James ("The Arrival's" Charlie Sheen) needs a major story to save his career, he sets up a smartaleck motor-mouth ticket scalper, Franklin ("The Fifth Element's" Chris Tucker) to get busted. While Franklin is being transported to jail, an elaborate jail break results in casualties, and Franklin gets blamed. Now he needs James' help to clear his name; he agrees, in exchange for an exclusive story. It all sounds like a fair trade--until they're chased and shot at and James is accused of murder a few days before his wedding.    In "Money Talks," Sheen and Tucker lock horns in various scenarios that set the wheels in motion for an onslaught of comic racial slurs and humorous stereotypical situations. Making his directing debut, Brett Ratner attempts to assemble an interracial action/comic duo worthy of comparison to Snipes & Harrelson, Murphy & Nolte or Gibson & Glover. His concoction, however, falls short, primarily because Sheen and Tucker must spend most of their time acting as audience diversions; the real plotline--a phantom one, as it turns out--is about stolen jewels. Luckily, late in the film, Tucker stumbles upon a clue that rekindles the story.    His usual onscreen self, Sheen holds his own, if barely; the manic Tucker steals the show. His comedic timing is the only element holding the film together. When he opens his mouth, it's like a pinata bursting after being hit, sending a barrage of colorful treats into the air--in this case, one-liners along with physical humor. Most of his efforts are genuinely funny, but some are just stupid. Though some might find Tucker's just-this-side-of-helium voice annoying, the constellation of commentary he's able to fit into his rapid-fire dialogue is a talent sure to be exploited in future films. Starring Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker. Directed by Brett Ratner. Written by Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow and Vince McKuen. Produced by Walter Coblenz. A New Line release. Action/comedy. Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive strong language. Running time: 92 min
Tags: Starring Charlie Sheen, Chris Tucker, Directed by Brett Ratner, Written by Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Vince McKuen, Produced by Walter Coblenz, New Line, Action, comedy

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