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.