The Out-Laws Review
The Out-Laws (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Tyler Spindel, written by Ben Zazove and Evan Turner and starring Adam Devine, Nina Dobrev, Pierce Brosnan, Ellen Barkin, Michael Rooker, Poorna Jagannathan, Richard Kind, Julie Hagerty, Blake Anderson, Lauren Lapkas, Lil Rel Howery, Dean Winters, Laci Mosley, Dan Jablons, Peggy Walton-Walker, Mo Gallini and Jackie Sandler.
Adam Sandler’s production company is behind the outrageous, annoying and ridiculously inane new comedy directed by Harvard grad Tyler Spindel, The Out-Laws. But, Sandler is no fool. He gave his wife, Jackie, the film’s two biggest laughs. Jackie Sandler plays a wedding cake store owner who presents a type of red velvet cake as “better than sex.” That opinion is hysterically stated in the movie and sounds funnier than it may read here. Then, as some bad guys with guns come into the cake store shooting it up, Jackie Sandler’s character takes some red syrup and squirts it around her neck to look like she’s dead. I must admit those two parts were so funny that it’s easy to forget how wrong it is to smile at the bad message that The Out-Laws could send to its viewers. This is the type of movie that one could easily enjoy if one had no proper sense of morals. This film is attempting to offend people as well as entertain them at the same time and, once in a while, it does so successfully.
Adam Devine has built a career on the fact that he has an annoying personality. He’s been marketed that way ever since his closing credits scene in Pitch Perfect 2 opposite Christina Aguilera. In The Out-Laws, he’s actually pretty likable for much of the movie especially when he goes in to rob a bank dressed as Shrek and saves an overweight man who has tried to beat him up through CPR. Devine carries much of The Out-Laws on his back and tries to save face hoping nobody in the audience will notice how offensive it all is.
Devine plays a bank manager named Owen Browning who is in love with a sweet yoga instructor named Parker McDermott (Nina Dobrev). This couple plans on getting married and Parker’s parents (Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin) mysteriously agree to attend the wedding one day after the parents had said initially that they weren’t going to attend. The would be in-laws are actually bank robbers and out-laws; hence the film’s title.
Michael Rooker plays FBI Agent Oldham who is seemingly investigating Parker’s parents. Though Rooker’s character represents law enforcement, he’s treated pretty much like a joke in the movie. Rooker isn’t bad in the role but the part is poorly conceived. We should be rooting for him at least to help our main hero, Owen, but Oldham sadly gets lost in the shuffle for the most part.
Julie Hagerty of Airplane! fame is moderately funny in a thankless role as Owen’s mom Margie. Her funniest scene comes when she climbs in the back seat of a car rather than getting out and going in the back seat like a normal person would do. Hagerty has built a career on eccentricity and fits right in here.
Brosnan and Barkin have their moments, for sure, as the bank robbers/potential in-laws. Both of these talents have been in great movies. Brosnan has had some memorable roles throughout his career but has never been an actor who got the glory he deserves as a serious actor except for when he played James Bond and co-starred in Mamma Mia!. Brosnan’s best dramatic supporting work was in Remember Me which was savaged by critics. This new film won’t help his career much. His attempts to have fun in the role in The Out-Laws get bogged down by the serious nature of the crimes being committed in the film and the fact that if the character Brosnan played cared about his daughter’s safety, he never would have popped up to begin with. Ellen Barkin’s best work was in Sea of Love opposite Al Pacino and Barkin has always been underrated as an actress. She ends up getting lost in the shuffle, though, in The Out-Laws. She has a few funny lines and that’s about it.
The big sequence in The Out-Laws that could anger viewers involves stolen bank money flying out the back of the vehicle carrying the loot. That would be maddening enough but then the vehicle goes through a cemetery knocking down tombstones. This scene could offend people more than make them laugh. If offensive scenes like this were re-thought, then maybe The Out-Laws would have worked a bit better.
Nina Dobrev has a lot of charm to spare and she and Devine make a cute couple. It would have been nice to see a movie about them trying to put together a nice wedding with their families. But, The Out-Laws is not that movie. Instead, we’re left with a comedy/action hybrid that could have been something like Grosse Pointe Blank if it didn’t offend so much. It’s a close call but, unfortunately, The Out-Laws loses its way in its craziness.
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