Milk Money (film)
|Directed by||Richard Benjamin|
|Produced by||Kathleen Kennedy|
|Written by||John Mattson|
|Music by||Michael Convertino|
|Edited by||Jacqueline Cambas|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|August 31, 1994|
Milk Money is a 1994 American romantic comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring Melanie Griffith and Ed Harris. The film is about three suburban 11-year-old boys who find themselves behind in "the battle of the sexes," believing they would regain the upper hand if they could just see a real, live naked lady.
Shot in various locations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cincinnati and Lebanon, Ohio, the story is set in an Ohio suburb named "Middleton", outside of an unnamed city (for which Pittsburgh was used). The screenplay was sold to Paramount Pictures by John Mattson in 1992 for $1.1 million, then a record for a romantic comedy spec script. The film was originally set up with Joe Dante to direct and his frequent partner, Michael Finnell, to produce, but they left the project over disputes regarding the budget and their fees.
Three elementary school boys — Brad (Adam LaVorgna), Frank (Michael Patrick Carter) and Kevin (Brian Christopher) — decide to go from their bedroom suburb of Middletown to the city (Pittsburgh), bringing money with hopes of seeing a woman naked. They find a hooker named V (Melanie Griffith) who is willing to show her breasts. However, when they're about to head home, their bikes have been stolen. They're broke and stuck in the city.
V speaks with her friend, Cash (Casey Siemaszko), and another hooker, Betty (Anne Heche). Cash has been skimming money that he sends to mob boss Waltzer (Malcolm McDowell), who in turn steals from his own boss, Jerry (Philip Bosco). V notices the boys outside in the rain and offers them a ride back home in Cash's car.
After they arrive at Frank's house, V's car suddenly breaks down so she goes inside to use the phone. Tom (Ed Harris), Frank's father, comes home and is surprised to find a woman in the house. Unbeknownst to V, Frank tells Tom that V is a math tutor and that she's giving lessons to Brad. Tom offers to repair her car in a few days when he is free from his science classes at school. With no other option, she accepts Frank's offer to stay in his tree house without Tom's knowledge.
Frank begins a close friendship with V, hoping to get Tom to become attracted. He tells her Tom has no problem with her "job," meaning the tutoring ruse, but she thinks he means her prostitution.
V learns from television that Cash has been murdered by Waltzer. She phones Betty only to discover that Waltzer is looking for her - Cash told him that she stole the money. She realizes that he is overhearing the conversation and hangs up.
With V's car still broken down, she gets Tom's old bike from the garage and rushes to find him. He is on a field trip to the town's wetlands, undeveloped natural land that he is attempting to save from development. He is unable to repair her car any sooner, but she realizes that she is probably safer in Middleton, since Waltzer doesn't know where she is.
At school, Frank flunks a biology test about sex education and must give his class an oral presentation. He decides to use V as a mannequin and through a ruse distracts his teacher long enough to draw a relatively accurate female reproductive system on her skin-colored bodysuit.
Tom and V go out on a date and both realize they are gaining feelings for each other. While walking through town on their date Tom and V run into Kevin's family. V recognizes Kevin's father, who is a client, but he says she has him mixed up with someone else. He then admits to remembering her and says she was a dance teacher. Tom is impressed with how busy V is being a tutor and dance teacher, V then realizes that Frank lied about Tom knowing she is a hooker.
V explains herself to Tom, and their relationship grows. She reveals that her real name is Eve. She thought that was too biblical so she removed the “e”s. Kevin's father learns the truth about her as well, and in an attempt to purchase her services, unwittingly calls her home phone number. Waltzer learns from Betty about the trip to Middleton, thus finding out where V is hiding.
V is terrified that Waltzer will find her so she decides to leave town but attends a school dance to say goodbye to Frank. Waltzer shows up to spoil their fun. A chase ensues, with him finally being eliminated. Anxious about her status and afraid to return to her old job, V goes to Waltzer's boss and relates how he has been cheating him. She asks to be "forgotten" by them. The older crime boss succumbs to her charms and he tells her he'll take care of things, that she doesn't need to be afraid anymore and allows her to walk away from prostitution for good.
V finds the stolen money in a backpack and uses it to buy the wetlands in Tom's name. It is also revealed that she purchased the ice cream parlor in town, so she can carry on with her new relationship.
- Melanie Griffith as V/Eve
- Ed Harris as Tom Wheeler
- Michael Patrick Carter as Frank Wheeler
- Malcolm McDowell as Waltzer
- Anne Heche as Betty
- Philip Bosco as Jerry the Pope
- Casey Siemaszko as Cash
- Brian Christopher as Kevin Clean
- Adam LaVorgna as Brad
- Margaret Nagle as Mrs. Fetch
The film received mostly negative reviews. Siskel & Ebert gave it a "thumbs down" and speculated mockingly that it may have been made by Hollywood executives with an affinity for hookers and their desire to make films about them, for lack of knowing women in any other profession. In print, Roger Ebert opted not for a conventional negative review, but to portray it as the result of a fictional conversation between two studio executives.