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Bob Hoose

Movie Review

Keith Gill is definitely not a world shaker.

No, Keith’s actually more of a nerdy cat-lover who likes to post online videos of his opinion about stocks while drinking a beer. In fact, sometimes the beer is all he gets out of it. After all, the number of followers of his RoaringKitty feed can be measured in mere handfuls.

But then something changes.

Keith starts talking about GameStop’s stock price on the online chat platform Reddit. The video game retailer is considered to be on the verge of death at the backend of 2020. Not only has the company been floundering like so many others during the COVID lockdown, but the market believes gamers are shifting to digital downloads and away from physical copies of video games. And on that “insight,” money management firms have been shorting the stock—or selling shares they don’t actually own—in the hope of making a huge profit when it tanks.

But Keith likes the stock. He thinks there’s still a market for what GameStop does. And he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is. So, Keith publicly sells his other stocks and invests  $50,000 in GameStop. RoaringKitty shows everybody online his financials to prove his sincerity.

And his story goes viral.

Next thing you know, college students and housewives everywhere are chuckling and investing their hundred dollars in the stock, too. A hundred goes a long way on a $3 stock. Besides, RoaringKitty is doubling down.   

Then the $3 stock rises to $7. And then $10. The online crowd gets excited. The number of mom-and-pop investors grow. The stock goes to $20. And RoaringKitty is holding and telling his followers not to sell. Who knows how high this could go? he asks. Keith’s cheering followers hold, they keep investing a few bucks more.

It’s right about now that the big-money guys start to take notice. If the stock rises rather than falls, they’ll lose money when they have to cover their short. And as the stock price doubles again, some hedge fund managers start quickly buying to cover their bases. As a result, the stock rises further.

As the GameStop shares pass the $200 mark and continue skyward, the masses rejoice. They might be able to pay off their house. The hedge fund guys, however, are in danger of losing millions. Maybe billions.

Now it’s getting serious.

This can’t stand, they say. Big wigs pull the plug. Sales of the stock are frozen. Social media communication is shut down. And Keith Gills is served with a subpoena to testify before Congress. To think, it all started with an online roaring kitty and a beer.

Positive Elements

Keith is a generally nice guy who sincerely enjoys sharing his insight and good fortune with his online fans. When online trolls trash him, he stays positive and smiling for the sake of others who might be listening. And even when things aren’t always so great, Keith’s wife, Caroline, supports him. She’s there by his side through thick and thin.

In fact, Keith’s family as a whole is pretty solid as well. His brother, Kevin, is a complete flake, but they all rally together for family meals and to visit a relative’s gravesite. (Keith’s sister has recently died of COVID.) They express their love for one another.

The film also looks at several individuals who watch Keith online and follow his investment advice. They’re all average, middle-class folk, good people working to support themselves and their loved ones.

Ultimately, Keith posts something of a mission statement online that encourages his followers to work together to outplay the big money manipulators. He suggests that even though the system feels rigged, there’s still hope for the “little guy”: “You put enough of us together, we can destroy a lion,” he says.

Spiritual Elements


Sexual Content

Two college students that we meet are in a lesbian relationship. They cuddle and kiss in bed. During a campus party, the two of them participate in a game where one of the young women puts her hand inside the front of the other’s pants.

We’re shown a variety of sexualized and crudely worded comments that people make online. During a pool party, the camera ogles a number of young women dressed in extremely tiny bikinis and other revealing outfits. Women dress in tube tops and other skin-baring outfits.

Some folks online are given the label “gay bears.” Keith and Kevin talk about one time when Kevin ran naked in high school. And by the film’s end, the brothers both run naked at night (we see them both from the rear.)

Violent Content

A young woman cuts her sock-covered foot on a piece of a broken ceramic mug. A hedge fund manager doubles over with a panic attack.

Crude or Profane Language

Dumb Money is stitched together with abundant amounts of profane thread in its dialogue and its rap-filled soundtrack. There are more than 100 f-words, some 50 s-words and multiple uses each of “b–ch,” “a–” “a–hole,” “d–n,” “b–tard” and “h—.” God’s name is combined with “d–n” on several occasions. The putdown “retard” is bandied about online. We also hear the n-word about 10 times. Male and female genitalia are crudely referenced a dozen times. Several people flash a crude hand gesture.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Kevin smokes weed in a bong on several occasions and cigarettes once or twice. And some college students smoke either a joint or a cigarette.

Keith, Caroline, Kevin and another friend all drink beer and wine. And a college party features heavy drinking and bottles of hard liquor. Keith’s family has wine with dinner. A woman drinks a glass of wine on a flight, and she tells the attendant of how much money she lost. “Honey, I’m gonna get you something stronger,” the flight attendant replies.

Keith’s mom worries about him becoming addicted to his money-making investment schemes. “It’s like a drug,” she tells him.

Other Negative Elements

As mentioned, Kevin begins this story seeming like a crass and crude loser. He takes his brother’s car without asking and steals whatever he sees fit. While delivering food for a GrubHub-like service, for instance, Kevin eats and drinks from the order before dropping it off.

We see a video of a man drinking his own urine. We hear of how someone’s father lost his job and his retirement funds because of Wall Street manipulators. Keith is threatened with the loss of his job because of his online posting.


The real-world events that inspired Dumb Money are pretty straightforward: A guy uses social media to upset the baked-in and manipulative big money control of the stock market. It’s an underdog-against-the-one-percent populist tale you can cheer. And director Craig Gillespie juggles the elements and characters of that story—including the potentially confusing market machinations—very nicely.

But, and yeah, it’s a great big “but” that supersedes the positives in my mind, this pic is caustically foul.

Maybe there are groups of people who substitute f-words for adjectives, adverbs and nouns in every other sentence, people who appropriate raw profanity to express incredulity, shock, surprise, confusion and anger. Perhaps, in some quarters, the internet is a spewing font of such stuff. But this R-rated pic presents that gushing crudeness as an everyday, universal practice.

Frankly, the filmmakers’ manic compulsion to insert profanity so frequently is incredibly obnoxious to sit through. Like other films of this ilk, that usage is either a case of irritatingly lazy script writing or some kind of profane catechizing.

And in either case, it ironically makes buying a ticket for this movie another example of “dumb money” in action.

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.