“The Out-Laws” attempts to blend slapstick comedy with a heist thriller, but sadly, it falls short of its ambitions. Directed by Tyler Spindel, known for his work with Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, the film boasts an impressive cast including Adam DeVine, Pierce Brosnan, and Ellen Barkin. However, despite the star power, “The Out-Laws” struggles to find its footing, stumbling through a maze of unoriginality and desperate attempts at humor.
At the heart of the film is Owen Browning (Adam DeVine), a bumbling bank manager whose lack of judgment and impulse control makes it hard to believe he’s entrusted with any responsibility, let alone managing a bank. His fiancée, Parker (Nina Dobrev), is a stable and mature yoga instructor, making it perplexing why she’s with someone as obnoxious as Owen. The dynamic between the two characters follows the tired trope of an immature man-child paired with a seemingly perfect woman, which quickly grows tiresome.
The plot thickens when Parker’s parents, Billy and Lilly (Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin), who are secret bank robbers, meet Owen and his family for the first time. Owen’s unwittingly divulged information about his job sets the stage for a heist and an ensuing investigation. Despite a potentially intriguing premise, the film loses its steam midway and becomes an exercise in repetitive action sequences and supposed “twists.”
While the cast is top-notch, their talents are wasted on lackluster material. Poorna Jagannathan, Richard Kind, and Julie Hagerty add their flair, but the sloppy, improv-heavy comedy does them no favors. Even Michael Rooker and Lil Rel Howery, usually scene-stealers, find themselves in underwhelming roles.
The screenplay, credited to Evan Turner and Ben Zazove, attempts to inject occasional witty lines, but they are too few and far between to salvage the movie. The film’s desperate nods to superior classics, such as “Ocean’s” and “Die Hard,” only serve to highlight its own shortcomings.
Visually, “The Out-Laws” attempts to give itself a cinematic feel with its wide CinemaScope ratio, but it does little to elevate the overall experience. The movie feels more like a collection of disjointed sketches rather than a cohesive story.
Despite its clear aspirations to become a memorable slapstick comedy, “The Out-Laws” fails to deliver the laughs or the excitement it promises. Instead, it comes across as a subpar imitation of superior films. If you’re looking for genuine entertainment, it’s best to skip “The Out-Laws” and revisit the classics it so desperately tries to imitate, like “The In-Laws.”