Review: ‘Money on the Side’

Even as Brazilian cinema is on the rise, the once-dominant Bruno Barreto continues his decline, as evidenced by "Money on the Side," a slick, negligible adaptation of Juco de Oliveira's popular boulevard comedy spoofing the country's culture of corruption.

Even as Brazilian cinema is on the rise, the once-dominant Bruno Barreto continues his decline, as evidenced by “Money on the Side,” a slick, negligible adaptation of Juco de Oliveira’s popular boulevard comedy spoofing the country’s culture of corruption. Shot in a disinterested manner and made in such a way that actually encourages auds to laugh off serious matters, pic is a throwback to the kinds of comedies the local industry used to crank out, and will find few comers beyond the region.

Banker tycoon Luiz Fernando (Fulvio Stefanini) appears to have smoothed the way for a capital transfer for a (never explained) business deal, but crisis erupts when his shady broker has a stroke and the boss’ assistant (Cassio Gabus Mendes) flubs the fund transfer. In the meantime, the bank has laid off staff, including loyal Roberto (Daniel Dantas), who turns vengeful — until an incredible piece of luck brings the key characters together for a long, drawn-out and unfunny negotiation. More bothersome, Barreto’s formerly energetic style is nowhere in evidence.

Money on the Side

Brazil

Production

A Buena Vista Intl. release of a Producoes Cinematograficas L.C. Barreto & Filmes do Equador, Movi&Art production, in co-production with Miravista, Globo Filmes, Dezenove Som e Imagens. (International sales: L.C. Barreto, Rio de Janeiro.) Produced by Paula Barreto, Paulo Dantas, Bruno Barreto, Sara Silveira. Executive producer, Maria Ionescu. Directed by Bruno Barreto. Screenplay, Marcio Alemao, adapted from the play by Juco de Oliveira.

Crew

Camera (Deluxe color), Jose Roberto Eliezer; editors, Valeria de Barros, Leticia Giffoni; music, Guto Graca Mello; production designer, Jean-Louis LeBlanc; costume designer, Caia Guimaraes. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Oct. 16, 2007. (In Los Angeles Latino Film Festival.) Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Giovanna Antonelli, Cassio Gabus Mendes, Zeze Polessa, Thiago Fragoso, Daniel Dantas, Fulvio Stefanini.

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