First, I am deducting three points for what might quite possibly be the worst title of any film ever. Money Never Sleeps? There are Lifetime movies airing in the middle of the night with better titles. And do we really need a sequel to Wall Street? It holds up fine on its own, but I guess Oliver Stone got bored one night and felt, given the current climate in the financial world, the movie needed a sequel. Well not so much a sequel as an Econ 101 lesson in how to crash a stock market and get rich doing it. Money may never sleep, but the audience sure does.
Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) works at one of Wall Street’s oldest and most respected establishments. He is also engaged to Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan), estranged daughter of our old friend Gordon Gekko, who is fresh out of jail and desperately trying to get back in the game. He also wants to get back in Winnie’s life and is happy to use Jake to do it.
It turns out that the well-heeled brass at investment banks do business pretty much the way high school girls conduct their social lives. The head of one bank has an ax to grind with the head of another bank and starts a rumor that the bank is sleeping with another bank’s boyfriend, wait. Scratch that. He spreads a rumor that the bank is failing. He destroys a bank and makes a fortune, destroying countless pensions and careers in the process. Of course now he has a giant target on his back.
I was bored. How many times have we seen the liberal rich girl who doesn’t talk to her robber baron father or the hungry kid from the wrong side of the tracks willing to do anything for a seat at the table—see even the writing is cliché. Overall, as you can imagine, the acting is sensational. Michael Douglas, Eli Wallach, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon—the credits read like a guest list to an Oscar party. Too bad they didn’t have more interesting material to work with. Oliver Stone was so busy explaining the subprime lending collapse he forgot he needed a plot.