Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale
Directed by: Adam McKay (“Talladega Nights”)
Written by: Adam McKay (“Ant-Man”) and Charles Randolph (“Love & Other Drugs”)
Filmmaker Adam McKay, best known for directing and writing broad and silly comedies like “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights,” takes a swing at something a little more serious than Will Ferrell running butt-naked on a racetrack. Set a few years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, the self-important drama places audiences at the center of a three-ring circus where a group of stock market experts (Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and pals) find out the housing market is about to implode and that they can make a lot of money on the misfortune of others. What McKay creates here is his version of an exaggerated “The Wolf of Wall Street” that registers as phony and too shallow for its own good. Maybe that’s the point, but when the script spews out confusing financial jargon and then backtracks to explain economics by breaking down the fourth wall, it’s about as entertaining as listening to a comedian do a stand-up routine on predatory lending.