They could make risktakers of us all if only they didn't have to navigate so much dead space between laughs.
At the outset, "Out of Sight" promises to skip lightly across the tightrope between crime and romantic comedy. A cast of dozens peppers the Elmore Leonard story with colorful characters who pop in and out of the flashbacks that flicker through the active mind of career bank robber Jack Foley (George Clooney). What kills the sting of the thing is the often ordinary dialogue that connects the high points of this otherwise stylish film.
An opening sequence introduces the principals and sets a comic mood that is sustained through even the most leaden passages. Over dinner in an elegant restaurant, U.S. Marshall Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) is opening a birthday present from her father (Dennis Farina). "Oh my God, it's beautiful. I love it," she coos as she looks lovingly at the 6R380 pistol, gleaming in its satin-lined presentation case.
Across town, Jack Foley (George Clooney) walks into a bank and sweet talks his way through the softest, least violent bank robbery in movie memory. Mr. Clooney's Jack Foley is a charming desperado who does this for a living, and he's got it down pat. But as good as he is at getting the money, he always seems to end up in--and breaking out of--jails. This time the bank robber and the U.S. Marshall end up locked in the trunk of the getaway car in a grand scene worthy of the best 40s detective stories. There, in that trunk, locked in an involuntary snuggle and chatting about movies, the charming thief and the earnest cop have found each other. They are the perfect odd couple.
It's the click, the chemistry that shreds everything that surrounds it. Dutiful people reject the moment; the reckless grab it, even when all the odds are stacked against them. This will be fun: the likable rogue who has never used a gun to commit a crime, and the action-loving cop whose duty it is to do him in. She has a weakness for bad-news guys, and he knows it. We're rooting for them, and that's the one note that sustains the movie until it begins to sink into its own confusion. As the characters proliferate, we lose track of them in spite of some good short-burst performances. The introduction of a thoroughly uncharming underworld drains the sparkle from the romantic comedy and recasts it in the dark rooms of boxing clubs and bars that are peopled by genuine bad guys. Suddenly violence with a contemporary caste begins to drain the fun from the story.
Ving Rhames stays in tune with the initial mood as Jack's sidekick, and Dennis Farina is on target as the devoted father who loves his daughter's eccentricities, but the movie belongs to Clooney and Lopez, whose screen chemistry is zappy and convincing. They could make risktakers of us all, if only they didn't have to navigate so much dead space between laughs.
Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 490
Studio : Universal
Rating : R
Running time : 2h2m
Copyright (c) Illusion
Return to Ellis Home Page