COMIC DRAMA, 2hr 10min
STARRING: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
Money matters: Carell (left) and Gosling
With its racy take on catastrophe, The Other Guys director Adam McKay's biographical zinger does to the 2008 global financial crisis what exotic dancers do to poles — and, yes, an actual dancer is in the mix. For one thing, McKay and Charles Randolph's screenplay (based on Michael Lewis's 2010 nonfiction book) has Margot Robbie, chef Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez, as themselves, chattily deconstructing economics. ("Whenever you hear subprime," Robbie says, while sipping champagne in a bubble bath, "think shit.") Then there are the anomalous money men who predicted the housing bubble would explode with a seismic bang: Scion Capital creator Dr Michael Burry (Bale), a one-time neurologist and full-time odd bod, pugnacious hedge-fund manager Mark Baum (Carell) and Deutsche Bank trader Jared Vennett (Gosling), so slick you could butter toast with him.
The technicalities can be confusing. But since every man and his blind dog now knows what (literally) went down, McKay's upbeat, no-BS reconstruction is as creepy and riveting as crawling under the hood of a car crash. And chilling, as well, at the end of the day, when the buck stops with the eight million jobs and six million homes of the innocent.