Every now and then, you come across a movie that you want to see not because of the movie itself, but because of whatever was tied to the movie and happened behind the cameras or outside of the shooting sets altogether. Billionaire Boys Club is one such movie. Ever since Kevin Spacey has been ousted as a sexual predator and a general creep, he got blacklisted and fired from every project he was involved in. It went so far even, that in the case of All The Money In The World, he was entirely replaced from the movie, only about a month before the premiere, with the movie already in the can. But, as this movie was shot way back in 2015-2016, replacing Spacey was no longer an option. So, this is the first appearance of Spacey on the big screen since the #metoo scandal, and presumably, it will also be his last.
Also, there are these movies that were shot with a lunch money budget and nobody heard about, but if they were to be shot today with the same exact cast, would need a budget of tens of millions of dollars because all the cast members became mainstream talent. Again, Billionaire Boys Club is kinda that movie, having both Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton in the lead, before each of them got introduced to wider audiences. And to make the picture complete, you also have Emma Roberts and Billie Lourd in the background as supporting cast. So, there is plenty of gravy around this film to make it at least interesting, but is it any good?
In short, God no. The actors are trying, they really are. But there is just so much one can do when the script and the direction are afterthoughts. James Cox, the director, is unable to present the story from visual point of view, therefor he employs narration in both the first and third act of the movie. Now, narration is not a bad thing on its own, but if it is not used effectively, it is more of a lazy crutch that drags the story down. By the way, Cox has also cowrote the script for this, together with Captain Mauzner, who is not a cereal box. Trust me, I looked it up, even though their writing may suggest otherwise. Because the dialogue is laughable and the overall progression of the story is so slow, that it is exhausting. Ansel Elgort’s character changes direction as often as the wind. Now he wants to play by the rules, now he is lying shamelessly to get other people’s money, now he is concerned that he is getting entire life savings and college funds to invest, now he is moving into a luxury house, and so on. And the time between such direction changes are not measured in weeks or days, it can happen during an elevator ride. Also, Elgort only appears to be wearing like 3-4 suits during the entire movie that supposedly covers months. I wasn’t looking if the same is true for the other actors as well, as the camera is mostly on Elgort, but this did stick with me. To be honest, the only palatable thing in the entire movie, interestingly enough, is Kevin Spacey. His character is of villainous nature, and he pulls it off without a sweat, as he did many times before. But then again, he was revealed to be a proper villain in real life too, so I am guessing there was not much acting involved them. He does have a line here that goes like “the truth becomes the best lie”, so one would argue that him being a villain in front of the cameras is more him being himself and whatever he did in public was the acting. Non the less, as soon as the overall story is done with him, the film becomes flavorless.
This movie was supposed to be released in 2017 but it was rescheduled for this year, although, the studio behind it made 0 effort to market it. I saw no trailers for it, no promotion of any kind. The only reason why I even learned of its existence was the news the its opening day box office was only of 126$. That is less than a full row of people in a screening room. But then again, it was only released on 10 screens, and with no publicity. Makes one wonder why it was released in the first place altogether.