Dunn hits another out of the park. No introduction needed. Enjoy!
I think we can all agree that what has been missing from kid’s movies in the recent years is finance. Well I have the solution for that, I present
Bulls and Bears
James Jackson (played by Chris Rock) has it all, a beautiful wife Emily (Vanessa Williams), an amazing daughter Mae (Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild), and a high powered job working for a ‘too big to fail’ bank (think Goldman Sacks) in New York City. Like most movie dads, James has been spending too much time working and has been ignoring his family. We see a montage of James hard at work, looking over spreadsheets (on a Mac, because every movie computer is an Apple product), at meetings, doing paperwork, and getting chewed out by his jerk of a boss (played by William Fichtner) cross cut with his wife and daughter making dinner together, then waiting at the dinner table with an extra plate meant for James.
Things come to a head when Emily has to go away for a week on a
business trip and James must watch Mae. James effectively tells her that his job is more important than hers. Hearing this Emily storms out (understandably) but before leaving says that they will have to have a serious conversation. The score is so blatant that we know she is talking about divorce.
In a series of comedic scenes, James proves he isn’t good around the house and has a hard time relating to Mae. He burns the macaroni and cheese, spills juice on his white carpet and knows that to clean it up he should use club soda or something, but he only has Coke, so he uses that and makes it even worse. These scenes make no sense of course because not only does he have Google, he is so rich he can pay for a maid and go to restaurants for every meal. But his worst crime is that he can’t relate to Mae very well. He keeps talking to her like
he would someone who works for him, and doesn’t appreciate her
emotions. Fed up, James drives her to his mother’s (played by
Nichelle Nichols) house in the county.
James goes back to work with a vengeance to makes up for lost time. Mae’s grandmother has other plans. Turns out she is an over the top Voodoo priestess (what, you thought a movie with a largely black cast wouldn’t have at least some awkward racial stuff?). She curses him, commanding the spirits to allow things at work to show James how important his family is.
James continues to work through the night, finally falling asleep at his desk. He is woken up by a ruckus in his office. he is greeted by a gang of CG creatures, each personifying some overly opaque financial terminology. There is a hedge (as in shrub) with a long white moustache, two six shooters, wearing a cowboy hat (voiced by Sam Eliott) [Texas Hedging and the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy]. Greek symbols which have eyes, legs and arms who have borderline offensive Greek accents and act like frat guys [The Greeks: Delta, Gamma, Theta, Vega, and Rho]/ And most importantly a cute cartoon bear (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) and a bull (voiced by Bradley Cooper, a mini hangover reunion!) [bear/bull market]. The creatures are the comic relief/slapstick characters of the movie (think Penguins from Madagascar, the minions for Despicable Me, and the boys from Brave).
If this was real life, you would know that you are either hallucinating, in which case you should go to the hospital, or magic is real, in which case this is the most important moment in mankind’s history and you should document everything, and call in every authority possible. But this is a movie, so instead James tries to keep everything secret and tries to quiet them so his secretary doesn’t hear and tries to hide them all in a filing cabinet, to hilarious results. Finally the bull speaks and explains that they are there to help him reunite with his family, and James is such a good man that he just needs a little help to get his priorities in order. The bear then berates him, saying how bad a father and a husband he
is. See, the bull will always be upbeat and nice, whereas the bear will be downbeat and mean.
So after an extended sequence of James trying to get away from them by going home, and they showing up where he least expects them (behind his bathroom mirror, in the shower, in his underwear drawer etc) James relents and takes their advice. He picks Mae up from his grandmother’s and makes her a big dinner. The creatures help with his cooking and his conversation with his daughter. When his wife returns she finds him with a great relationship with his daughter, and James takes them both to a night on the town, going to a broadway play, getting an expensive dinner etc. This is enough to make up for years of neglect and she immediately forgives him for everything.
We think everything is resolved but something serious goes wrong at work. William Fichtner’s character has made a huge stupid trade and has been dubbed the ‘New York Whale’ by the press (and you better believe you will see a cartoon whale wearing a Yankee hat and eating pizza). Of course the important meeting is at the same time as Mae’s school play. Try as they might, the Bull and the Bear can’t convince James to skip the meeting.
The meeting is all about how the bank can save face in light of the story. James suddenly stands up and scolds everyone saying how he had learned something the past few weeks: people had to take responsibility for their actions, and that actions were more important than words, and he had something more important to do, namely to make his daughters night. Blank stares from the people in the meeting. Cut to Mae in the play looking at an empty seat and a look of disappointment, then back to the now filled seat and joy on Mae’s face.
In the epilogue we find out that William Fichtner’s character has been fired and James has been promoted to his job. Emily and Mae visit him at work and in front of his secretary apologies that he has to stay late, giving Emily a sly wink. He asks if Mae wants to quickly help him with something and takes her into his office and closes the door. He pins up a huge print out of stocks and he can Mae take turns throwing darts at it. After his family leaves he tells his secretary
that it will be another late night and to hold all his calls, then when no one is looking he sneaks off. He meets his family and they walk off together hand and hand as the camera zooms up from the ground level up to a view of the manhattan skyline. James is secure in the knowledge that the quest for positive alpha is a fool’s errand determined by randomness, and if worst comes to worst and his trades blow up, his company is too big to fail and they will be bailed out.