Directed by Scott Frank.
Written by Scott Frank.
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher and Matthew
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 4/8/07
I was actually a bit surprised by the time I
left my screening of "The Lookout" yesterday morning--I was a bit
underwhelmed by a film that I thought would have a bit more edge to
it, one that was getting some pub prior to release for being a
noirish thriller with great characters. Instead, "The Lookout"
is something that will fly under the radar, and deservedly so, from
what I found yesterday.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so brilliant in last
year's "Brick", plays
Chris Pratt, a 22-year-old kid who suffered a serious car accident
injury when he wrecked his convertible on prom night four years
prior to the start of the film's main action. The injury has
left him with almost zero short-term memory abilities, so he has to
write everything down in a little notepad he carries with him;
because of this, he is only capable of light manual labor tasks, so
he works as a janitor at a small bank near Kansas City, MO at night.
His roommate--a blind guy named Lewis (Jeff Daniels) who works as a
CSR for 1-800-FLOWERS and is a bit of a dreamer. One night
after working at the bank, Chris runs into a guy who he used to go
to high school with, Gary (Matthew Goode, from
and, by golly, Gary is looking to rob a bank with a team of some
shady types...in fact, they want to rob the exact same bank where
Chris works. Having trouble with the ladies, Gary even hooks
Chris up with what can only be called a piece of ass (in the form of Isla Fisher, from
Crashers") to help coerce Chris into serving as the lookout for
the robber team on the night of the big score.
Gordon-Levitt is strong once again in his
work here, but his character as written just doesn't have as much to
do for, oh, half the film. Once we get his character nuances
down, we're hoping they'll be advanced in a way that is worth
following; instead, we get more and more of the same bits, from his
routine of getting donuts from a deputy (Sergio Di Zio) every night
and chitchatting about nothing, to forgetting his car keys, not
once, but I think four times over the course of the movie; having to
remind himself to wake up, shower, eat breakfast, etc.; it's a test
of patience in watching "The Lookout", and surprisingly, I had the
patience, but only for something that was interesting, and after
fifteen minutes, you know you are not going to get it from the lead
And, from there, nothing is really worth
remembering. Chris's relationship with his family is dull and
predictable; Daniels does his best to be interesting but off the
page, his dialogue is nothing to write home about; the sets and
visuals need to be bland and they are, but as such, they almost help
to drag you into the misery of the experience; the team of "bad
guys" led by Goode's Gary is so non-descript that two of the three
other guys on this team didn't even have much to say (one of them, a
guy named Bone, had no lines at all!); Fisher's character is dumb as
a rock but this is not played to good effect.
What does this leave you with? The
eventual robbing of the bank, and while this sequence is sorta
tense, it ends the way I thought it would, only to give us a chance
to watch Chris perform a bit of derring-do to save the life of a
friend. Writer/director Scott Frank then leaves nothing to
suspense with his very-end sequence by literally scripting out for
us what is going to happen, right down to the last gunshot.
"The Lookout" was a disappointment for me,
but I still love that Gordon-Hewitt guy!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard