The Out-Laws (2023) Movie – “The Out-Laws,” an attempt to recreate the success of “The In-Laws,” failed even before it debuted, coinciding with the tragic passing of Alan Arkin, one of the stars of “The In-Laws.” Tyler Spindel, the film director, previously worked as a second unit director with Happy Madison Productions under Adam Sandler himself. However, this comedy lacks originality, appears desperate, and oddly brags about its shortcomings.
The story revolves around Owen Browning (Adam DeVine), an inept bank manager who gets entangled with his fiancee’s parents (Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin), who are secret bank robbers. Owen’s family often mistake Parker (Nina Dobrev), his yoga instructor fiancee, for an illegal stripper, but she maintains her charm and personality, making her character even more captivating. However, Owen is an unlikely partner, known for his overreactions, obsession with action figures and pop culture trivia, and uncontrolled outbursts of foul language and rude remarks. This film follows the classic formula of an arrogant, ignorant man-child marrying an attractive yet virtuous woman.
Owen and his family, portrayed by Julie Hagerty and Richard Kind, believe Billy and Lilly to be world-travelling anthropologists specializing in studying the Yanomami tribe in Amazonia. It is a disastrous decision when Billy and Lilly meet Parker’s family. Owen unintentionally discloses enough information about his bank job that triggers a robbery investigation, leading to massive profits for Billy and Lilly. However, the filmmakers extend this plot with car chases, “twists,” gunfire, and excessive shouting.
Although the cast of “The Out-Laws” is talented, their performances are unfortunately wasted in this film. Michael Rooker plays an alcoholic FBI agent who inexplicably wears a straw boater hat, which adds no genuine eccentricity to his character. Poorna Jagannathan stars as Billy and Lilly’s unhinged money launderer, while Lil Rel Howery plays Billy’s enthusiastic, shouty best friend, reminiscent of “Get Out.” The film contains numerous references to iconic films like the “Ocean’s” series, “Heat,” and “Die Hard,” highlighting why viewers would prefer to watch those superior works instead. Even the title, with its unnecessary hyphen, alludes to its source of inspiration.
Overqualified cameo appearances quickly fade into nothingness due to a lack of substantial material given to them. While acclaimed screenwriters Evan Turner and Ben Zazove may have occasionally contributed statements showcasing character psychology, such as Margie’s comment about always suspecting Billy and Lilly of criminal activities, the script lacks coherence and fails to engage viewers.
“The Out-Laws” falls far short of being a well-made film; instead, it feels like a half-hearted attempt. It is shot like a workshop production, with elaborate costumes and lighting. Characters either compete to deliver nonsensical lines faster or respond with bewilderment, sighs, or questioning looks. Adam DeVine’s exaggerated facial expressions further accentuate the flaws of this movie. Shot using a wide CinemaScope ratio, it attempts to convince audiences that they are witnessing cinema rather than random YouTube clips.
This film aims to capture the spirit and feel of classic dry and hard-edged slapstick comedies such as “The In-Laws,” “Midnight Run,” “The Freshman,” “Central Intelligence,” and “Game Night.” Yet, even the weaker moments of those films outshine “The Out-Laws.” Imagine your least favourite DreamWorks cartoon being brought to life with real actors, and imagine it is becoming a reality, including a heist scene where someone wears a Shrek mask and tries to imitate his Scottish accent, only to question later if he’s actually Irish. For a more enjoyable viewing experience, I recommend watching the original film, “The In-Laws.”
Overall, “The Out-Laws” is an unmemorable Netflix original film that fails to deliver an engaging comedy experience.