Milk Money: On-This-Day Thursday
Every Thursday, an older film released on this opening weekend years ago will be reviewed. They can be classics, or simply popular films that happened to be released to the world on the same date.
For August 31st we are going to have a look at Milk Money.
This movie sucks, plain and simple. The '90s had an affinity for terrible coming-of-age films that had no clue how to appeal to all ages, and boast those handy PG or PG-13 ratings. My film was Blank Check, which I can identify as a putrid mess (a million dollars can't get you all of that stuff, I don't care what you say), which still boasts one of the grossest kisses in cinematic history (a grown woman pecking a tween on the lips. Blegh!). I have absolutely no connection to Milk Money. Never grew up on it. Have no reason to identify with it now. That one disturbing kiss in Blank Check is this entire film: a series of cringe worthy actions between children and adults, decided by grown filmmakers that are clueless.
So, Milk Money is all about trying to have prepubescent boys win a class debate between sexes, and they conclude that they need to see a naked woman to get all the answers. They manage to befriend a prostitute (played by Melanie Griffith). A father of one of the boys (Ed Harris) begins to strike up a relationship with the sex worker, who is portrayed poorly because this is a '90s comedy directed by a white dude that thinks this whole thing is hilarious (and it isn't).
Nothing in Milk Money feels as though small actual proper point is being made. The majority of the film is the means to laugh at scenarios, as if the boys in the film came up with the concepts themselves. Well, nothing in Milk Money is even ironically amusing. Not even Malcolm McDowell making his twenty thousandth poor contractual decision in a row. The film feigns a moral compass, but it rewards you in no way. I can imagine someone who actually tried turning a story about a sex worker's encounters with misguided tweens into something worthy of discussion, especially if anyone was enough of a lunatic to attempt this.
Milk Money doesn't count. Whatever guts it pretends to have, is truly just gall. There's nothing bold about cheap laughs, the same sex jokes you hear a thousand times, and false interest in actually discussing "when is the proper time to talk to your kids about sex?", "how do you handle a scenario like your children befriending a sex worker, and what stigmas can you remove?", and the like.
Nope. This is a painful film from beginning to end. Zero laughs. Pure exploitation. Dishonest sympathy. This is a film that vowed to ride the wave of atrocious '90s tween films, and it shows. There isn't even a cult following for this trash. Just the odd person that has their nostalgia goggles on, who try to insist that this is a misunderstood film. What's there to misunderstand? There's a reason why this film has faded into obscurity, outside of it's very small circles of appreciation. It doesn't know how to talk to teens. It certainly isn't worth it for adults. It absolutely cannot be shown to young kids. Who the hell is this film for? The invisible audience that studio heads sometimes swear exists?
The truth is that this film is fit for no one that is aware of better material, especially films that deal with the subject matter much better. Milk Money is a giggle behind the scenes, that a devoted cast and crew tried to turn into something special. There's nothing special here. Only scum at its worst, and vomit inducing kitsch at its best. Pointless. Just completely pointless.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.