The Girl Next Door
Tom & Katie Skip Katie's Premiere Party
by Roger Friedman
It was a mixed bag Wednesday night for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. They came to the red carpet for "Mad Money," Holmes first film release since their marriage.In the lobby of the Mann Westwood Village theater, Cruise graciously shook hands with yours truly and Holmes and I shared a reluctant hug.
But that was it. The couple left as the Callie Khouri-directed feature unspooled and they werent seen again.
Even though co-stars Diane Keaton, Ted Danson and Queen Latifah made it to the lavish Overture Pictures premiere party at UCLA Westwoods Royce Hall, the Cruises were a decided no-show. Toms cousin, actor William Mapother, made it to both events but didnt know what had happened to his hosts.
The "Mad Money" event was otherwise jam-packed, with Mary J. Blige, Rosanna Arquette, T-Bone Burnett, Tate Donovan, Bud Cort, Arianna Huffington, producer Lawrence Bender and loads of Hollywood heavyweights (such as Kevin Huvane) eager to see this pleasantly funny if not completely plausible comedy make its debut.
Luckily, Im told Overtures financial exposure on "Mad Money" is only $6 million, so theyll make that back. The company, overseen by Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett, has a number of more anticipated releases on the way, including "The Visitor" directed by Tom McCarthy ("The Station Agent").
"Mad Money," by the way, does feature a reference to crazy ol Jim Cramers "Mad Money" cable financial show. Its a sly moment, and one of the few as the three ladies Keaton, Latifah and Holmes along with husbands and boyfriends decide to steal from the Federal Reserve over a three-year period.
Where some heist movies like this might show characters motivations as paying for a child or an elderly relatives illness or surgery, or justifiable revenge for some terrible act a la "9 to 5," the movie that inspires this we are simply lost. "Mad Money" is just a movie about greedy people who cant stop themselves from stealing. Its hard to feel sorry for them or to identify with anyone.
Thankfully "Mad Money" has Keaton carrying the bulk of the story. Khouri surely knew that Keaton can do no wrong, and can explain any strange behavior. Latifah is like a movies Rosetta Stone shes the voice of reason when things go awry. You dont mind watching them for 90 minutes.
Holmes is a different story. Before Cruise, she was on a good career path with "Pieces of April" and a few other little movies after "Dawsons Creek." Her role in "Batman Begins" could have launched her into a whole new realm. "Mad Money" is an odd choice. Her part is small and pedestrian. Holmes seems like shes in a frenzy throughout the movie, unable to locate or center this intangible character.
Cruise and Holmes may have skipped the screening and the party because they knew the movie was a dud. Then again, theres this new book about Cruise, the announcement of Nicole Kidmans pregnancy and a revelation of Will Smith being even more involved in Scientology.
Interestingly, not one of Katies new "best friends" came to support her at "Mad Money." There were no Beckhams, no J-Lo or Marc Anthony, no Leah Remini, Will or Jada, Travolta, et al. It was as if the word was out to keep all of the Cruise cabal away for the night.
They might have been right to stay away. While "Mad Money" is perfectly nice, its also totally incomprehensible. It starts with a flash forward that makes it seem like youre already in the middle of the film. Thats only one of several plot contrivances that dont make sense.
A short way in, the many characters who are held for questioning by the police for grand larceny are interviewed MTV-style about their adventure which we still havent seen. Its a mess.