First off, we meet the man who eventually brought Gekko down in the first place, his slimy counterpart Bretton James (Josh Brolin, a pro at playing the bad guy). After becoming an esteemed billionaire, the guy who'd do anything to get ahead (evidenced by his choice of artwork, natch) is suddenly on the brink of decline himself once his shady practices are called into question. Then we've got the shocking death of Jake's business mentor Louis Zabel (Frank Langella, who's terrific in a small role) and yet another subplot featuring Jake's mother (Susan Sarandon), a misguided real estate optimist who Jake frequently has to bail out. Of course, with the aforementioned family drama in the running, too, that thread also demands a share of the film's already-bloated running time, too.

Perhaps in an effort to appeal to everyone, the zing that made the first Wall Street such an enjoyably acerbic commentary of the times is definitely missing in Money Never Sleeps. And for those who aren't already privy to the particulars of the financial world, Stone isn't interested in offering any teachable moments either. Sure, purely as escapist entertainment, the movie is far from boring. But the lack of insight, not to mention the kinder, gentler Gekko who emerges certainly makes you miss the era of greed being good, which isn't the conclusion the filmmakers were probably hoping for

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Social drinking and cigarette smoking, plus a mention of a Winnie's brother's drug overdose.

  • Language/Profanity:  The PG-13 allotment of "f" words (two), plus a few instances where Jesus' name is used inappropriately and God's name is taken in vain.

  • Sex/Nudity:  No sex or nudity, although Jake and Winnie do live together and conceive a child before they're married. Given his new success on Wall Street, a couple of woman try their best seductive glances on Jake, but he's fiercely loyal to Winnie, even when his pals give him a hard time for it.

  • Violence:  A man intentionally leaps to his death on the subway tracks.

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.