Out of Sight (1998) — A romance doomed to fail

“Hey bank robber! Hey, want some advice? Next time keep the engine running.”

Justin’s rating: I’m in Lopez shock

Justin’s review: It’s the same old story: Boy gets thrown in prison, boy escapes from prison, boy kidnaps girl, girl happens to be a US Marshall, boy and girl fall in love, boy is on the run from the law, girl is obliged to hunt him down, boy and girl get caught up in some sort of get-rich heist. We’ve seen it a million times before.

Unlike some other people (*cough* Kyle *cough*), I do not use my vast power and fame of being a Mutant Reviewer to woo women. In fact, most of the time I have to go out in public heavily disguised, otherwise I will be some sort of human fly strip where the flies are… um… girls? Yeah. Let’s go with that. It’s the price one has to pay: being in a position of datable power, yet being humble enough not to use said power for my love life. Therefore, I’m always considering alternate paths to meeting women and falling in love. Seeing as how bars and clubs don’t work out so well for me (“I love you!” “WHAT? SPEAK LOUDER!”), I’ve turned to the movies for romantic inspiration.

Out of Sight gives me a great idea. First, I should be George Clooney. Women seem to like him a lot, despite the fact that his primary acting trait is smirking. Then, after busting out of jail, I should kidnap a really, really gorgeous federal marshall who looks like Jennifer Lopez. Then comes the coup de resistance: making her fall in love with me as we’re trapped in the trunk of a car by talking about — MOVIES! See, I knew having movie knowledge was good for something.

Naturally, the instant attraction has to be so great between Jennifer and I that nothing, not a federal pursuit across country, not my past history, not her current occupation with a musical career would come between us. I wonder how one words that in a personals ad?

This is a very offbeat movie that has a lot going for it in both the male and female camps. There are prisons, guns, bad guys, and all the Jennifer Lopez you can handle. There’s a longful yearning to fall in love with the right soulmate, female empowerment, and an adorably scruffy George Clooney. It’s basically an escaped criminals doing that last big heist story, with the added complication of a love connection to make things more interesting.

All the actors, including the leads and various lackies (see Ving Rhames) are cheeky and have a fun spirit, which keeps this film high where it could easily be dark and depressing. The visual style, including freeze frame shots of important moments, is reminiscent of many indie films. All in all, it’s just a very different type of movie, done well, and thoroughly enjoyable. The sound of my laughter rang many a time off the walls of my room.

I might as well try this tactic for finding a wife, since that Sleepless in Seattle angle isn’t panning out. You wouldn’t believe what type of people listen to those radio programs.

Clare’s rating: Elmore Leonard is a man not to be trifled with

Clare’s review: I’m a sucker for smart criminals. I tend to find anti-heroes or characters with questionable morals to be way more interesting than goody goody good guys who always do the right thing. Elmore Leonard, the writer of the novel on which Out of Sight’s screenplay is based, is a genius at writing criminals, lowlifes, mobsters, and thugs in such a way that there’s no mistaking what kind of people they are and no helping the fact that they’re also charming as all get out.

Enter George Clooney as Jack Foley. If there’s one thing that can’t be argued about Clooney, it’s that he is, in fact, one charming fella. His performance here as a bank robber with a heart of gold is a welcome change from standard Clooney head down eyes up wink and nod one liners. He actually does some acting here and he does it admirably.

The story centers around his relationship with the sexy sexy bounty hunter played by Jennifer Lopez who’s hot on his trail and hot for some lovin’. Say what you will about J Lo (as she apparently prefers to be called these days), she does an amazing job here playing one of the most well rounded (and well rounded – va va va voom!) female characters in film history. She’s smart, tough, good at her job, she can take care of herself, she’s sexy as hell, she’s ambitious, clever, funny, flawed, moody and skilled in the use of a variety of fire arms. What’s not to love?

In addition to the on screen sizzle between these two, Out of Sight is also stuffed with amazing supporting roles and actors who make the most of every minute they get on screen. Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Don Cheadle (god I love Don Cheadle!), Catherine Keener, Dennis Farina, Michael Keaton, Albert Books and Luis Guzman (whose scene with Jennifer Lopez and Catherine Keener kills me every time I see it) all make their roles believable, funny and complex. Without all this other immense talent surrounding them, Clooney and Lopez’s story line would fall flat on its face.

Steve Soderbergh, who is quickly making a name for himself as a director with impressive skills, does a superb job of getting this story onto film. The movie is well edited, the cinematography is nearing perfection and the music is kick ass. It’s a darkly romantic comedic action crime thriller unlike any other darkly romantic comedic action crime thriller you’ve ever seen.

Dida notice?

  • John Malcovich in the bank
  • What those big yellow barrels at highway exits contain
  • Michael Keaton reprising his FBI role from Jackie Brown
  • Samuel L. Jackson as a crook at the end of the film

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