Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins and Evan Rachel Wood (L-R) star in “Kajillionaire” (Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy/Focus Features).
For the Love of Money
On the classic song “For the Love of Money,” The O’Jays sang, “For the love of money, people will steal from their mother, For the love of money, people will rob their own brother, For the love of money, people can’t even walk the street, because they never know who in the world they’re gonna meet, For that mean, oh mean, mean green, almighty dollar, cash money…”
Despite the fact that the love of money is the root of all evil, very few people would turn down the opportunity to become wealthy beyond imagination.
Actually, some people will do just about anything to just hit a quick lick.
But in the oddly quirky, eccentric, eclectic and weird film “Kajillionaire,” the desperation for money goes to a new level.
Unfortunately, “Kajillionaire” is not imaginative or interesting enough to graduate to that next level as a film.
Many people are aware of the aforementioned Bible verse (1 Timothy 6:10) about the love of money being the root of all evil.
Additionally, many are equally familiar with the Bible verse (Proverbs 22:6) that urges parents to train up their children in the way that they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.
Depending on a parent’s morals, that verse can lead to greatness or great criminal activity.
In the case of Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood, “The Ides of March”) in the movie “Kajillionaire,” her parents Theresa (Debra Winger, “Radio”) and Robert (Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”) have done an excellent job of turning her into a petty thief, con artist and an emotionless wreck.
In “Kajillionaire,” Old Dolio, Robert and Theresa spend their entire time plotting to come up on a quick hustle while attempting to avoid paying rent.
The parents are several months behind on their rent and they plea with their landlord Stovik (Mark Ivanor) to let them pay their back rent in installments.
However, Stovik correctly informs the deadbeats that rent is actually an installment by its very essence.
That installment is actually due on the first of every month in many cases.
Nevertheless, Stovik still has a soft spot in his heart for the destitute family.
Robert, Theresa and Old Dolio are not actually paying rent on an apartment or motel room, but on office space.
They rent office space in a building that houses the company, Bubbles, Inc.
Besides their financial rent, one of their requirements of staying in the office space is cleaning up the bubbles that leak into the office where they live.
To get money to pay rent, the family does things like steal from post office boxes and attempt to exchange massage gift certificates for things like rocks that they can sell on the black market.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph who played Poundcake on the Fox series “Empire” and Lady Redd in “Dolemite is My Name” plays the masseuse, Jenny.
Their fortunes begin to change, however, when Old Dolio comes up with their best hustle thus far.
The family has a little bit of money, but not enough to pay their back rent.
So Old Dolio comes up with the plan for them to fly together to New York as a family.
However, they will fly back home as total strangers.
Old Dolio’s parents would then pick up her luggage by “mistake.”
When Old Dolio discovers that her luggage is missing, she could then report that the airline lost her luggage.
The insurance she purchased from her plane ticket would entitle her to a check of over $1500.
However, on the plane ride back home, a beautiful young Puerto Rican lady named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez, “Deepwater Horizon”) grabs the attention of Robert despite the fact that Theresa is sitting in the seat next to him.
Although the family has gotten away with their hustles thus far, loose lips often sink ships and Robert begins telling Melanie a little too much about the family’s capers.
Robert begins telling Melanie about the family’s hustles and she wants in.
Melanie is a bit of a hustler and con artist herself because she told the couple that she was a physician’s assistant when she actually sells eyeglasses in the Galleria.
The new recruit puts the family on some more cons that they can do to get the back rent money.
Melanie is a huge fan of the “Ocean’s 11” movie about elaborate heists.
However, like many heist movies, when the money finally comes to the table everyone becomes wolves and no one can be truly trusted.
First and foremost, the characters Old Dolio, Robert and Theresa have to be some of the oddest people to ever grace a movie screen, and that says a lot for an industry that often flaunts strangeness.
The only normal characters in “Kajillionaire” are Melanie and the Hot Tub Salesman (Adam Bartley).
Do not ask why there is a Hot Tub Salesman in “Kajillionaire” because obviously no one in the movie has enough money to afford one.
Like Robert told Old Dolio, “Most people want to be kajillionaires.”
The problem in society is that people will live above their means just to feel like they are kajillionaires, which leads to a “kajillion” problem.
Despite the strangeness of “Kajillionaire,” the movie does deal with what happens when parents fail to show their children the proper love, guidance and support.
Although some parents teach their children how to make money, some do not teach their children the value of morals and integrity.
The immorality and lack of integrity often leads to more heartache and pain.
As The O’Jays sang, “For the love of money, people will lie, rob, they will cheat, For the love of money, people don’t care who they hurt or beat, For the love of money, a woman will sell her precious body, For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight, For that mean, mean, mean, mean, mean green, Almighty dollar…”