This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Dumb Money, based on The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich, recounts the shocking news story from 2021 regarding Reddit users banding together against Wall Street to turn GameStop into one of the most popular companies on the stock market. Considering this wild premise, director Craig Gillespie and writers Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo deliver a film that will have audiences laughing throughout while peeking at how far people are willing to go for wealth.
The star power makes this film all the better; the ensemble cast comprises Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley, and Seth Rogen. Juggling a group of talented actors like this can be difficult, so while not everyone gets a moment to shine, none of them phone in their performances. This take on the classic tale of chasing the American Dream may not be anything new, but it’s an enjoyable and straightforward story that does its best to recount this recent event.
What is the Premise of ‘Dumb Money’?
In summer 2020, middle-class financial analyst Keith Gill (Dano), aka Roaring Kitty on YouTube, put all of his life savings into GameStop stock because “I like the stock,” as he proclaims. He hosted livestreams to show viewers the potential growth of the share. Even with more and more people coming across Gill’s channel and investing in the gaming wholesaler, Wall Street saw GameStop as a failing company during the pandemic.
That is, until January 2021 when America’s working class started earning huge profits, while those in the 1% financial bracket reached the verge of bankruptcy. Dumb Money follows the lives of many people affected by this movement, like college students, nurses, hedge fund managers, CEOs, and of course, Roaring Kitty himself.
‘Dumb Money’ review: a hilarious reminder of a strange period in history
Shortly after news coverage of the GameStop stock occurred, a splurge of documentaries were made for streaming services, with a number of film adaptations being pushed into development from different studios. While it seemed like a cheap way to capitalize on this situation, Dumb Money is successful in condensing this story in a coherent and enticing manner for the unfamiliar to follow — there just might be a few business terms that’ll go over the viewers’ heads.
Gillespie creatively introduces the characters with their net worth to distinguish the stark differences between the rich and the poor, as well as emphasize just how much people are willing to sacrifice — either for greed or their livelihood. The writing from Schuker Blum and Angelo pokes fun and pulls in references that accurately (and comically) capture this specific point in history.
The ‘Dumb Money’ cast is rich with talent
With the film focusing on a big sample of characters in various situations, the audience gets to witness different perspectives from this moment in time. The most heartfelt of these is Ferrera’s Jennifer, a single-mother nurse with two kids. Davidson is the scene-stealer of the film, however, with his mannerisms and jokes achieving the biggest laughs from press and industry viewers at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
However, the large cast is also a detriment to the film, as not every character is given enough opportunities to be explored in their journey. Dumb Money could’ve benefitted from being a limited series, with each episode following a different character, so ample time is devoted to understanding their motivations. But with a tight runtime of 104 minutes, the narrative itself is paced well. Whether the draw to the film is the story or its onscreen talent, Dumb Money is sure to please audiences with its comedic writing and cast performances.
When is the ‘Dumb Money’ release date?
Dumb Money premiered at TIFF on September 8, 2023. It will have limited theatrical showings on September 15 and 22, 2023, before its wide release on September 29, 2023.
'Dumb Money' Review'Dumb Money' Review
- Performances from the star-studded cast don't disappoint
- Excellent comedic writing and references
- Easy to follow story
- Some characters don't receive enough screen time