By Brian Hickey
“The Lookout” tells the story of Chris Patt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who has trouble coping with his life after a horrific accident left him with brain injuries, killed two of his friends, and seriously injured his girlfriend. His life is consumed by writing everything down on a pad of paper due to short-term memory loss. (Think “Memento,” but with paper instead of tattoos.) The film goes out of its way to show that Chris was once a godlike (if overly clichÃ©) high school hockey-playing hero.
Predictable from the opening shot, “The Lookout” has no surprises. The movie has the emotional depth of a checkstand book you might pick up at the airport for a long flight. In almost every aspect, the film runs as average as a C-student, toeing the middle of the road in every way. Any warm feelings that might have accumulated are completely sunk in the last thirty seconds with a cute, fuzzy ending that wraps everything up. We are left with Gordon-Levitt looking thoughtfully into the camera, a move the filmmakers probably learned in Film 20A.
Gordon-Levitt gives a decent performance as the brooding man he has become in recent years, after completely shedding his “Angels in the Outfield” image. It is almost too much in this film, however, as he shows no range except being broody, as if a caricature of his terrific performance in “Brick.” In fact, go rent “Brick” instead of seeing “The Lookout,” and if you like the “Lookout” better, I’ll buy you a Diet Coke.
Perhaps the only standout aspects of this movie were a few notable performances. The always-amazing Jeff Daniels, as Gordon-Levitt’s weird, blind roommate, really brought his A game. Matthew Goode, the charming British guy from “Match Point” and “Chasing Liberty”, nailed his role. He leaves you wondering how he mentally prepared to transform into a charming psycho from Kansas. A poor showing by Isla Fisher makes you wish she would stick to comedy. Watching her try serious acting is a little bit like watching two blind people run into each other—you don’t know whether to laugh or cringe.
Overall, when this movie is on TBS in a couple years, give it a view. Otherwise, just go watch “Brick.”
_To collect on Diet Coke, contact film reviewer Brian Hickey_