[Screen It]


(1997) (Chris Tucker, Charlie Sheen) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Moderate Heavy Moderate Extreme
Moderate None Mild None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild Mild None Mild Extreme

Comedy: A small-time con artist and a TV reporter work together to clear their names as murder suspects while trying to stop an international diamond smuggler.
Franklin Hatchett (CHRIS TUCKER) is a small time con artist and ticket scalper. When local L.A. TV news reporter James Russell (CHARLIE SHEEN), shows up to do a story on Franklin, he's really there to watch Det. Pickett (PAUL GLEASON) arrest him. Later handcuffed to Villard (GÉRARD ISMAÉL), an international diamond smuggler, Franklin finds himself in the middle of a jail bus escape, and becomes Villard's hostage. He manages to escape, but finds himself as a suspect in the violent murders. With no one else to turn to, Franklin calls Russell who's just been fired from his job. Because this might be his lucky break, and needing his job since he's marrying rich socialite Grace Cipriani (HEATHER LOCKLEAR) in a few days, Russell agrees to help. Franklin's goal is to clear his name, but in doing so gets Russell implicated with him. As the TV reporter tries to figure things out, he must also continue with his pending wedding plans and keep his rich, soon-to-be father-in-law, Guy Cipriani (PAUL SORVINO), happy. As the two fugitives find Villard and stumble across his plan, they use every resource possible, including Franklin's childhood buddy turned arms dealer, Aaron (MICHAEL WRIGHT), to stop the dangerous diamond smuggler.
If they're fans of Tucker ("The Fifth Element," "Dead Presidents") or Sheen ("Platoon," "Hot Shots"), or want to see a wild-looking comedy, they probably will.
For graphic violence and pervasive strong language.
  • CHRIS TUCKER plays a profanity spewing con artist who does what he can to clear his name of murder charges, including one scene where he calls in a fake bomb threat to a nightclub.
  • CHARLIE SHEEN plays a TV reporter who agrees to help Franklin, but only to save his own job. He also curses a lot.


    OUR TAKE: 5.5 out of 10
    Back in the 80's a young, stand-up comedian with some TV experience catapulted into superstardom by playing young, cocky and hilarious characters on the big screen. His movies generated hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide at the box office. Soon that actor got too big for his britches, forgot about those roles that made him famous -- and were perfectly suited for him -- and tried to do other ego-based projects. For the most part he failed and in the wake of this, left a void of those characters he popularized. It's now the late 90's and another young stand-up comedian is on the rise and has seen that void and the dollar signs that once flowed around those roles. Chris Tucker is that young man, and he's blatantly trying to position himself in the comedy/drama roles vacated by Eddie Murphy many years ago. And who can blame him? Like "48 Hours," "Money Talks" balances comedy with violent drama and has Tucker mugging and primping much like the young Murphy did. Sheen assumes the Nick Nolte role, but plays a gruff TV reporter instead of the gruff cop, and he even drives a convertible as Nolte did in that other film. Tucker's no Murphy, Sheen's definitely not Nolte, and first-time director Brett Ratner can't hold a candle to director Arthur Hill (who helmed "48 Hours"). This isn't to say that "Money Talks" isn't occasionally hilarious and usually enjoyable to watch. It's just that when film makers so blatantly copy a successful formula -- a young, funny black man who's a prisoner/fugitive teams up with a gruff TV reporter/cop and hunts down a murderous diamond smuggler/criminal to clear his name -- you can't help but criticize it. Tucker does have his moments, such as when he hangs around with papa Sorvino, and he may just be successful at filling those early Eddie Murphy roles that are now vacant. His on-screen charisma is sky high and his blend of physical and vocal humor suits him well, particularly in this role. Sheen plays a smaller part than usual, but still makes you wonder, as we've said in previous reviews, how much of an aberration "Platoon" and "Wall Street" really were for him. Ratner, who's making his feature directing debut after making music videos, is competent but not overly inventive in his approach. At least this film doesn't look like a music video that's so often the case with these directors who cut their directing teeth on those often frenetic, under five minute pieces. Beyond Tucker's antics, Ratner and writers Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen ("Toy Story") have developed some funny bits, including amusing scenes between Tucker and Sorvino, and a brief, but hilarious auction where threatening gestures between the "good" and "bad" guys are taken by the auctioneer as bids. While certainly not a great film, and again reeking of imitation, "Money Talks" is a somewhat enjoyable, often funny diversion in a darkened theater. And it may just be the vehicle that helps Tucker get better roles that will propel him into stardom. We give this film a 5.5 out of 10.
    Violence, mayhem, and profanity are the bigger winners in this film's objectionable material contest. More than 130 "f" and "s" words are uttered along with many others. Many people are killed by all sorts of weapons, particularly at the end of the movie. Tucker, who some kids will idolize, isn't a good role model in that he's a con artist, he cusses all of the time, and he calls in a fake bomb threat that is something you'd probably not want your kids to imitate. Still, a great deal of this is played for laughs so, depending on the maturity of your child(ren), they may or may not see the material at face value. Accordingly, you should look through the scene listings to determine if this is something they, or you, should see.

  • People drink champagne and cocktails at a rehearsal dinner party.
  • Grace's mother drinks a Bloody Mary.
  • Grace's mother prepares martinis and then gives one to her husband.
  • Some guys drink champagne from a bottle.
  • Some guards and inmates who are shot in a prison bus escape are bloody.
  • A store owner has small bloody bullet holes in his body after being shot.
  • James spits out some blood in a bathroom after getting into a fight with Franklin.
  • Blood runs down the side of James' head after he's hit, and the man in the backseat of a car has a bloody face.
  • Several people who are killed or injured in the last shoot out sequence are bloody.
  • Obviously Villard and the rest of his associates have heavy cases of both as they kill many people attempting to get their diamonds. Likewise, other people, including a cop, also have both.
  • Franklin is a con artist and ticket scalper. In one scene, he's taken a man's car (from a carwash) to do his own business.
  • A white man, to whom Franklin owns money, tells him that he doesn't like "brothers" (ie. Black people). Later Franklin's called "homey."
  • Franklin pockets small objects from the Cipriani house while visiting.
  • Some viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as also being tense, but for the most part they appear to be played for laughs and action instead of tension.
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Bombs/Hand Grenades/Missiles: Used to threaten, injure, or kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Arsenal: Shown to Franklin and James by Aaron, a friend of Franklin's.
  • Phrases: "Nigger" (said by black person), "Shut up," "Loser," "Kiss my ass," "Bitchin'," "Pissed off," "Bastard," and "Nuts" (testicles). Also the terms "f*ck you" and "suck my d*ck" are mouthed, but not heard.
  • While being chased, Franklin runs down the street on top of the cars stopped in traffic.
  • Some kids may imitate Tucker's goofy gestures, movements, and vocal mannerisms.
  • Franklin and James run from the police (who are shooting at them) and jump from rooftop to rooftop over alleys in between the buildings.
  • To clear out a nightclub to look for the bad guys, Franklin calls that nightclub and tells them there's a bomb inside.
  • While showing Franklin and James his own fully stocked arsenal, Aaron aims a laser- targeted gun at James' forehead.
  • Franklin mouths "suck my d*ck" to Villard and gives him "the finger," while Guy gives him the universal sign for "f you."
  • Franklin hot wires a car at an auto auction.
  • None.
  • There is a mild amount of slightly tense music, mainly of the comedy/adventure type.
  • None.
  • Due to crowd noise, the numbers below should be considered minimums. In addition, some of the words are also mouthed in silence to other people.
  • At least 77 "f" words (12 using "mother," 2 used sexually), 60 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" and "p" words), 2 slang terms for female genitals (the "p" word), 47 asses (2 used with "hole"), 21 hells, 7 damns, 3 S.O.B.'s, and 32 uses of "G-damn," 2 of "Swear to God," and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Sweet Jesus" as exclamations.
  • A large man in a jail cell cozies up to Franklin, takes his shirt off, unbuttons his pants, and puts his hand on Franklin's thigh. He then puts his arm around Franklin who's oblivious to what's going on until he finally figures it out. This is played for laughs.
  • Realizing he's going to be tossed from a helicopter, Franklin tells the bad guys that he can get them any kind of woman they would want.
  • James' boss tells him (while talking about a big news story), "Words like that give me a stiffy. And at my age I can't waste them."
  • A woman walks through a scene wearing a very short cut outfit that reveals just the lower part of her butt.
  • After hearing someone accuse James of being a "limp d*ck," Grace says that he doesn't have one of those.
  • We see a closeup of a woman's buttocks in see through fishnet stockings and a g-string.
  • James smokes in a few scenes.
  • Franklin and Guy have cigars at an auto auction.
  • A bum on the street smokes.
  • A bad guy smokes.
  • None.
  • Among other things, that calling in a fake bomb report might be funny in a movie, but in real life will get you into a lot of trouble.
  • A puncture strip blows out the tires of a jail bus and an explosion blows the bus in two, killing many inmates and guards and catching others on fire. Mercenaries then show up and shoot everyone else dead with machine guns.
  • Franklin jumps from a helicopter and the bad guys fire machine guns at him.
  • Two cops fire their guns at Franklin after recognizing him in a diner.
  • Franklin pushes James into the water after he shows up brandishing a gun.
  • Cops kick down a door and then chase after Franklin and James shooting at them.
  • The bad guys drive up and shoot at Franklin and James who dive through a glass door into a store. The bad guys follow them, shoot a surveillance camera, and then shoot the store owner when he comes out.
  • James and Franklin get into the obligatory fist fight with several punches thrown.
  • A bad guy shoots at Franklin in an auto show room and then chases him down the street shooting at him. Franklin returns several shots (and a bum on the street picks up his gun and shoots at them) and the scene ends with a big car wreck.
  • James is hit on the head and another man has been beaten up in the backseat of a car.
  • A cop shoots his partner dead and Franklin then punches him and flees.
  • Villard and another man's forces have a big gun battle where many people are shot and killed.
  • Many people shoot at Franklin and James, while two friends of Franklin fire machine guns and missiles at those people, blowing them and property up.
  • A man is crushed by a falling light pole and James knocks out a man with a fire extinguisher.
  • James punches Villard and then he and Franklin kick this man many times.
  • Hand grenades blow up a helicopter and the man inside.

  • Reviewed August 12, 1997

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