Classics: Mo’ Money

Remember the Mo’ Money sketch on everyone’s favorite sketch show In Living Color? Remember when Stacy Dash was an actress and didn’t say questionable things on TV? Remember the reign of the Wayans brothers that has lasted for at least two decades? Yes? No? Maybe? Let’s re explore Mo’ Money.

Friends of mine often quote Major Payne, another Wayans classic and one that is known widely as Damon Wayans best films but I think Mo’ Money tops that for Damon and I will tell you why.

As I write this, I’m watching the film for the umpteenth time and I love it and find new things I hadn’t noticed before each and every time. What I love about the Wayans is their imagination. It is unmatched and that’s what makes their movies, TV shows and comedy so iconic. The imagination is wild but still grounded in real life. Mo’ Money is the story of two con artists in New York, brothers Johnny and Seymour, who are literally trying to survive. Johnny wants a better life for him and his brother but working doesn’t really suit him. It’s not a lifestyle he chases so they make their living on the street coning people out of their money doing card tricks and the like…until he comes across Amber. Side note, a coworker of mine says my name exactly like Harry Lennix says Amber’s name in this film and I laugh every time. Back to the story. I have a question. New York is a vast place. I’ve been there once and spent time on Long Island and in Manhattan and I saw tons of people. What I’m getting at is the fact that there are so many women like Amber that Johnny could have come across during his years of scamming and deceit that I find it hard to believe that this man decided, after seeing her face, to change his way of life for her. I get that love is a complicated thing and sometimes it comes like a toddler who won’t go to sleep at night but I have a hard time believing that he had never done this before. Looking at Seymour’s face when he let her win the game tells me that he had never done something like that before but movie has to movie so let’s move on.

Fun facts coming! Mo’ Money was Marlon Wayans first film AND his brother made him audition for the role. And no, he did not give him special treatment. In fact, the way Marlon tells the story, Damon could have given the role to someone else and not batted an eye. The Wayans brothers, Keenan and Damon, are a tough crowd from what I’ve learned through the people that have worked with them. Bernie Mac had a small role in this film. I love how so many people understood that they needed this man’s genius in their movies and TV shows.

Let’s get to what you came here for: why I think Mo’ Money is better than Major Payne as a Damon Wayans film. Mo’ Money has passion, action, comedy and it shows the range of Damon Wayans. Damon wrote this film and think about it. This entire movie can from a, what, ten minute sketch he did with his older brother maybe a handful of times. There’s a car chase, a love story, a brotherhood to explore, a lifestyle change and a moral to the story. Damon goes from funny to lecturing brother to the boyfriend who wants to change his life for the better after meeting the love of his life to a badass tying a cord around the bad guys neck and throwing him off a factory conveyor belt. Intense stuff! He was loud, mean, but eventually, loving in Major Payne. Ain’t not range there but it was funny. AND Damon was able to bring more of his classic characters from In Living Color into the movie in a natural way.

My favorite scenes are, of course, the scenes with Marlon because although they’re brothers in real life, it is not as easy to convey that on screen and make you believe that they are two separate people who are different from who they are as real people. The way they play off of each other is so natural and fluid and I am glad that Marlon was given the chance to get this role and show that his a formidable actor. He also was able to show some range!

So, tell me! What is your favorite part of this movie? What do you remember? Are you mad that this movie is better than Major Payne? (I said what I said and I’m not taking it back)

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