Cash Out (2024)

Cash Out Review

Cash Out (2024)

Putting a movie together just to say you did it doesn’t make any sense to me. It is beautiful when you can create something that you love and give it to the world. But “just to say that you did” with John Travolta, Kristin Davis, Lukas Haas, and Noel Gugliemi (one of the best “Hey! It’s that guy!” actors ever) is not okay. Cash Out has a powerhouse cast and every second squanders their talents.

Travolta wants this so bad, goddamnit. He carries this movie through sheer force of will and his eyes alone, but he’s done in by Dipo Oseni and Doug Richardson’s flatline script again where he doesn’t get to do much of anything at all. His character Mason Goddard is a high-profile thief who’s about to “cash out” (hey!) and leave The Life behind were it not for his JV brother Shawn (Lukas Haas) hitting a bank score on his own; the target: a flash drive containing some valuable dirty laundry. When Mason finds out whose dirty laundry it is, his reaction is to walk away, but the possibility of making some money off a dumb plan is too good.

You can almost hear it now: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” right? Oseni and Richardson even throw in the undercover agent-slash-romantic partner for good measure. Amelia Deckard (Kristin Davis) has just revealed her government ties to Mason, and having let him and his crew slip through her fingers she’s got another shot at bringing them in, setting Shawn up for the fall by leaking intel about the score but never expecting Mason to walk right into the middle of things. The way this plays out in the film feels like more padding than necessary puzzle piece; when Mason asks her, “Was any of it real?”, we don’t have a sense of what “any of it” was, considering their “romance” was glossed over by way of the opening scene, which is couched in lies as well (they’re on a job, natch).

Ives drags this one-note story out past all logic; he gives us SO MANY whizzing drone shots (even inside the bank) to try to raise the oomph he wants this movie to have. But there’s nothing keeping us watching except for John Travolta. Everything else is smoke and mirrors; even in this little movie, Travolta has a command that magically helps us accept what’s happening. The empty script forces him to carry Cash Out because it doesn’t rely on anything or anyone else. No bonds are forged between crew members, no history or flavor shared; they play their roles and are gone just as quickly.

We want to assert that the script is “lean” but it’s not; there’s no meat on these bones. And for a heist movie, the meat is everything it’s the fun and excitement that involves and engages an audience, and Cash Out has none of that. What it does have is superficiality: things are there just because they can be there; nothing means anything. This film lacks depth or wit or even low-budget crime thrills; in fact, its central heist proves to be just as half-assed as any other part of this mess this whole thing seems like some kind of sick joke perpetrated by whoever put Mason (Travolta) & Co together on screen.

Cash Out isn’t even enjoyably bad; it’s just bad-bad. It tries so hard John Travolta works his ass off trying to spread his vibes around this whole production but none of this effort amounts to much more than another lackluster performance from him. He remains watchable throughout, certainly earning a bit of goodwill with each successive scene … which gets squandered almost immediately thanks to brain-numbingly dumb writing and a script that doesn’t go anywhere at all. The ending is beyond belief, logic-wise (though by then nobody should still care about what makes sense in this story), and every character who isn’t named “Mason” or played by John Travolta might as well be wearing red shirts for all the development they receive here which amounts to zero minutes because somebody decided these people didn’t matter. I get it: heist movies need something more than star power behind them; unfortunately for audiences everywhere who might’ve been hoping otherwise tonight … Cash Out ain’t got nothing else going on besides Johnny T trying his best once again.”

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