The Out-Laws (2023)

The Out-Laws (2023)

Even by Happy Madison standards, this is an aggressively middling comedy



United States of America
Action, Comedy, Romance
Adam Devine, Betsy Sodaro, Blake Anderson
95 min


Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond money must really have dried up.

What it's about

A bank manager grows suspicious of his mysterious in-laws when his workplace is robbed the week they show up.

The take

You ought to know what you’re getting into with a movie like The Out-Laws, a production from the Adam Sandler-founded Happy Madison banner that’s behind such lofty cinematic heights as Grown Ups and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Even in that charitable frame of reference, though, The Out-Laws feels, even more than usual, like a tax write-off for its creators and a sweet solely-for-the-paycheck gig for its starry cast, who don’t have to do much by way of actual dramatic work here. The perfunctory editing and bland direction often seem disinterested in (or, perhaps, embarrassed by) most of the script’s attempts to be funny, and so the film rushes through its scenario, which is only mildly amusing to begin with. In a movie like this, that’s more of a blessing than a curse, even if it does mean some of its better moments get short shrift from the whistlestop treatment. All in all, even as Happy Madison vehicles go, this is an utterly forgettable 95 minutes — the kind you’ll barely even be able to recall by the time the credits roll.

What stands out

The less said about the degradation forced on the genuinely talented Adam Devine as lead Owen, the better — but all things aside, the supporting ensemble here is unnecessarily good for a movie of this caliber. Though it’s impossible not to wince at Pierce Brosnan being made to read lines like “I’m gonna kick your green ass, Shrek!”, he, Ellen Barkin, Lil Rel Howery, Lauren Lapkus, Michael Rooker, Julie Hagerty, and Richard Kind do their best with the thin material and actually have an elevating effect on it in places — particularly the latter two as Owen’s parents, who are responsible for most of the genuine laughs here. That they provide a few bright spots of comedic relief in a movie that is supposed to be all comedic relief pretty much sums up The Out-Laws, and makes it palpably obvious that this movie is centered around the wrong eccentric in-laws.


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