Worker’s Constipation

Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross’ “The Best Things in Life Are Free” plays over a segment of Mo’ Money. It’s an obvious selection as the movie reforms con man Johnny Stewart (Damon Wayans) who learns money isn’t an ultimate goal. According to Mo’ Money, life is about romance.

Money makes people do awful things. Anyone with money (or desperate for some) is drawn into a scheme or so smug about their riches as to be insufferable. Mo’ Money draws much of its humor from those cartoon personalities. In an early scene, a detective examines a crime scene while focused on his jelly doughnut. An affluent rich man only knows how to interact with abysmal jokes and take women to the opera for culture. No one in this movie is real, instead aiming for a satirical world with which to view poverty and inner city struggles.

There’s no genuine work for a convicted criminal. That puts Stewart in a socially compromised position. His last job was dressing as a chicken and handing out coupons. For the goofiness installed in this movie, real world circumstances serve the script well. And, this is not portrayed subtly. “People don’t care about their future. Why do you think Bush is in office?,” asks Marlon. Mo’ Money proudly wears its liberalism.

Mo’ Money is suited to leisure watching, something to have on in the background

The rest of Mo’ Money’s script comes from a stencil of ‘90s action comedies. There’s a chase where cars smash a homeless woman’s cart full of cans. Don’t forget the doughnut cop either. Marlon and Damon Wayans pair up for a number of skits, portraying street bums, mentally disabled, and an especially cringe-y gay couple stereotype.

Everything leans on the stars here. It’s their vehicle, the Wayans obviously but also Stacey Dash playing a standard romantic lead. Mo’ Money isn’t out to surprise. Heroes get their girls, villains get arrested; personalities carry a script this thin. Both Wayans have enough to get by, even if their routines reach into some ugly ‘90s social conventions. Plus, it’s comical seeing noted controversial conservative Dash in something so progressive. Times change everything.

Mo’ Money is suited to leisure watching, something to have on in the background. Catching glimpses and a few routines drowns out the noise – the plot, mainly – while letting the Wayans entertain in short bursts.

Video

Shadows crush any darker scenes, turning the image to patches of mush. If only that were the major problem. Oh dear…

Squished onto a two-pack, single disc set with High School High, this transfer endures a ghastly compression routine. Chunks of artifacting fill every frame. It’s DVD equivalent, were improvements not made since the format’s inception.

There’s hardly definition left. A few close-ups might find a smidgen of facial texture. The rest is digitally encoded out of existence. Notable on the print is a bunch of dirt, begging for some clean-up but this geriatric master wasn’t given that type of help.

Color sticks out, a positive, until things begin bleeding out of control. That’s the compression again, taking brighter hues and letting them run wild.

Audio

Moderate Dolby Digital stereo keeps the soundtrack clean and separation active. Action scenes split enough to note directional gunfire or passing cars, if little else.

Flat dynamics and fidelity likely come from both age and Dolby Digital’s restrictive nature. At least dialog doesn’t struggle.

Extras

Nothing.

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Mo' Money
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3

Movie

Upfront about its satirical and progressive look at wealth, Mo’ Money’s script barely factors into the various comic skits.

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