- Movie Rating -

The Out-Laws (2023)

| July 8, 2023

I want to note, right at the top, that my hatred of the new Netflix “comedy” The Out-Laws was not fueled by the fact that it was produced by Adam Sandler’s “Happy Madison” but it helps me understand the heap of unfunny nothingness that followed.

Directed by Tyler Spindel with the light touch of a sitcom that never got past the pilot, The Out-Laws stars Adam Devine as Owen Browning a perpetual clod who is about to marry his girlfriend Parker (Nine Debrov) despite a heap of questions about how they ever got together in the first place.  He works as a bank manager, which leads to even bigger questions.  He has such an aura of clumsy chaos and public embarrassment that it’s a wonder that the bank fathers even let him sweep the floors.

Public embarrassment is the key here.  Owen makes a fool of himself walking from one room to the next, and it’s the target of put-downs even by those who apparently care about him.  He’s a loser, a major loser, so much so that we wonder how he is able to get out his front door with out tripping over his own feet.  It isn’t funny and neither is the persistent joke involving his parents (Richard Kind and Julie Hagerty) who dismiss Parker because they mistake her job as a yoga instructor for being a stripper.  This is that kind of movie. 

Then the plot arrives.  Parker has been reluctant to introduce Owen to her folks Billy and Lily, (Ellen Barkin and Pierce Brosnan) who are not only iron-clad adventurers, but don’t really seem to like that their baby girl is marrying this insufferable schmendrick – we get it.  They meet Owen one afternoon when they break into his place and overhear him dancing around his kitchen singing a song about banging their daughter.  He quickly realizes that he and his girlfriend’s parents are polar opposites – he’s a tenderfoot and they prefer skydiving and casually furthering their tapestry of tattoos.  Both these activities leave Owen in a fit of hysterical screaming that is tantamount to being the human sacrifice in Temple of Doom.

Anyway, the pity upon this plot is that recently the bank that Owen manages has been robbed.  This coincides with the arrival of his new in-laws-to-be who are – what do you know? – professional bank robbers!  Ho HO!  Owen is convinced that Billy and Lily are the culprits but whatever tension might exist in this situation is overturned by the arrival of two unfunny characters who make it all-too-obvious that they both are and are not the responsible: First is a former FBI agent named Oldham whose career was ruined, leaving him personally determined to catch them.  Second is a beautiful Indian money launderer named Rehan Zakaryan (Poorna Jagannathan) who wants $6,000,000 in debt repayment. 

All of this leads, inevitably to Owen having to help Billy and Lily on a heist and it was one of those scenes that runs on so long that I found myself muttering, “ah come on.”

As I stated at the top, my hatred of this film does not stem from its production company.  This would be a bad movie no matter what logo opened it.  The comedy here is forced in a way that you can see the build-up to a joke long before it is even revealed as a joke.  A good comedy director – and a good comic actor – knows that it is better to play the comedy straight rather than stomp on the joke, and that’s the problem with Evan Devine.  He’s stomping at the joke in a way that makes whatever potential laughs wash out before we have a chance to get involved.  Plus, he’s playing a guy who is such an over-the-top loser that we can’t get involved.  We don’t like him.  We don’t want him to marry Parker.  We agree with the parents that this guy is a loser who deserves to be alone.  That’s where we start with this movie, and that’s not good.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2023) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy