Movie Reviews

Dumb Money Review: A Rollercoaster Ride Through the GameStop Frenzy

Craig Gillespie’s Dumb Money is a cinematic take on the astounding events surrounding the GameStop short squeeze of January 2021, as chronicled in Ben Mezrich’s book, “The Antisocial Network.” This film promises to be a wild, entertaining ride as it brings to life the true story of a group of unconventional investors from the Reddit page r/WallStreetBets. Ever since its initial announcement, Dumb Money has generated significant buzz and it’s mostly for good reasons.

The Good:

Nick Offerman in Dumb Money (2023).

The film revolves around the Gill brothers, Keith (Paul Dano) and Kevin (Pete Davidson), who emerge as the driving forces behind the r/WallStreetBets movement to squeeze hedge funds that had heavily shorted GameStop’s stock. Paul Dano’s portrayal of Keith Gill is compelling; he captures the character’s eccentricities and unwavering determination to take on Wall Street. Pete Davidson brings his signature humor and charm to the role of Kevin, providing comic relief amidst the financial chaos.

Vincent D’Onofrio‘s portrayal of hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is menacing, depicting the ruthless world of high finance. America Ferrera delivers a solid performance as Jennifer Campbell, a viewer of Keith’s YouTube channel who becomes a crucial part of the movement. Nick Offerman as Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire hedge fund manager, embodies the embodiment of Wall Street power and greed.

The supporting cast is a mixed bag. Anthony Ramos and Sebastian Stan stand out as fellow r/WallStreetBets members who join the crusade, bringing authenticity to their roles. Shailene Woodley and Seth Rogen, however, feel underutilized in their respective roles, with limited character development. Dane DeHaan and Talia Ryder offer adequate performances, but their characters lack depth.

The film’s strength lies in its portrayal of the internet-driven frenzy that engulfed GameStop’s stock. Craig Gillespie effectively captures the chaotic, meme-fueled atmosphere of r/WallStreetBets, showcasing the power of social media in democratizing finance. The film’s use of Reddit threads and YouTube videos as storytelling devices provides insight into the unique culture that fueled the GameStop saga.

Dumb Money‘s cinematography and editing contribute to the film’s energetic pace. The frenetic trading scenes and exhilarating stock price fluctuations are visually engaging, immersing the audience in the world of online investing. The soundtrack, featuring a mix of classic rock and modern hits, complements the film’s tone and keeps viewers engaged.

The screenplay, penned by an ensemble of writers, is witty and sharp, delivering clever dialogue and humorous one-liners. However, the film’s pacing could have benefited from more in-depth character development, particularly for the central figures like Keith Gill and Jennifer Campbell. Their motivations and personal stories are briefly touched upon but remain largely unexplored.

The Bad:

Seth Rogen in Dumb Money (2023).

However, where Dumb Money falters is in its attempt to balance humor and drama. While the film excels at delivering comedic moments, especially through Pete Davidson’s character, it struggles to maintain a consistent tone. The serious implications of the GameStop saga, including the real-world financial consequences for many, occasionally clash with the film’s lighthearted approach. This inconsistency may leave some viewers unsure whether they should laugh or reflect.

Additionally, the film takes creative liberties with certain events and characters, deviating from the book’s factual narrative. While creative license is expected in adaptations, these departures may leave audiences questioning the accuracy of certain pivotal moments in the story.

The film also fails to delve into the broader socioeconomic issues raised by the GameStop saga. It hints at the wealth disparity and Wall Street’s questionable practices but lacks the depth to provide a thought-provoking analysis. Instead, it opts for a more surface-level exploration of the events.

Despite these shortcomings, Dumb Money is an entertaining and timely exploration of one of the most memorable financial events of the 21st century. It successfully captures the spirit of the r/WallStreetBets community and their audacious attempt to disrupt traditional finance. While it may not offer the comprehensive examination that some viewers crave, it does offer an accessible and engaging introduction to the GameStop saga.


Dumb Money, directed by Craig Gillespie and based on Ben Mezrich’s book, delivers an entertaining and visually captivating retelling of the GameStop short squeeze. It benefits from a strong lead performance by Paul Dano and the electrifying energy of the internet-driven investing movement. However, its inconsistent tone, underdeveloped characters, and lack of depth in exploring the broader issues make it fall short of being a truly exceptional film. It’s a wild ride worth taking, but it leaves room for improvement.

Dumb Money Review: A Rollercoaster Ride Through the GameStop Frenzy
  • Acting - 7.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 7.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 6/10
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