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GameStock Stock Surge Movie Fails to Excite: A Disappointing Bore

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It’s been a banner year for underdog movies about seemingly unremarkable real-life events

It’s been a banner year for underdog movies about seemingly unremarkable real-life events

The Good Ones

  • “Air” and “BlackBerry” made the genesis of the Air Jordan sneaker and the world’s first smartphone seem weighty and epic
  • They were a lot of fun

The Tedious One

The same cannot be said of the tedious “Dumb Money,” which premiered Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Running time: 104 minutes. Rated R (pervasive language, sexual material, and drug use). In theaters Sept. 22.

About “Dumb Money”

About the 2021 GameStop stock surge, director Craig Gillespie’s pry-your-eyelids-open drama is two hours of drudgery and rattled-off money lingo that acts like it’s “All The President’s Men” when it’s really a bargain-bin “Social Network.”

The Plot

Our man is Keith Gill (Paul Dano), a k a Roaring Kitty, the popular investment analyst YouTuber who shook up Wall Street.

When the geek encourages his fanbase to buy up cheap shares of the video game store GameStop — “I like the stock,” he earnestly says — the subreddit WallStreetBets gets onboard and soon the stock’s value skyrockets, shocking the markets and the all-powerful hedge fund billionaires who refer to chump retail traders as “dumb money.”

The gist of Gillespie’s dumb movie is that a mighty group of average Joes wrestle control of Wall Street from the 1%.

The Characters

Beyond Keith, his loudmouth brother Kevin (Pete Davidson) and wife (a totally wasted Shailene Woodley), we’re introduced to two camps: the haves and havenots.

The snarling wealthy villains are Melvin Capital founder Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen), Citadel CEO Ken Griffin (Nick Offerman), hedge fund manager and Mets owner Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio) and creators of the investing app Robinhood, Vlad Tenev (Sebastian Stan) and Baiju Bhatt (Rushi Kota).

The Average Joes

Scattered around the country are the humble, cuddly at-home GameStop traders including college students Riri (Myha’la Herrold) and Harmony (Talia Ryder), Jenny (America Ferrera) the nurse and GameStop counter worker Marcus (Anthony Ramos).

For a time, they’re swimming in money. We get to watch them stare at their phones as they check on their stock portfolios. Lucky us!

The Congressional Hearing

Even when the film arrives at the climactic congressional hearing in which Gill, Plotkin, Griffin and the Robinhood boys are questioned on a Zoom call by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among others, it’s a chorus of yawns.

The Verdict

“Dumb Money,” with a predictable script by Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo and Ben Mezrich, rambles on and on with an unwaveringly lethargic tone and zero buildup of energy or anticipation. All the while, the audience has little investment in this dud about investing.

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