Halfway into The Out-Laws, I was wondering if I should get a drink and watch the rest after getting a little buzzed because that would have certainly made this experience more profound. Not that it is any less than when you watch it dead sober. But there is one condition. You need to have a penchant for bad movies, like me. That is the only way you would enjoy The Out-Laws. It is a very obvious bad movie, which fits right into the “so bad that it’s good” genre. This is a movie where a man mistakes another man’s genitals for a ripcord while sky-diving. The same man repeatedly gets his buttocks grabbed by his fiancé’s parents as if nothing happened. Then, during an all-important heist, this man uses a water gun instead of a real one. Yes, it is that kind of movie. With the freedom of R-rating, there’s an abundance of prostitution and lewdness, but strangely enough, that doesn’t make much of an impact. In many ways, watching The Out-Laws feels like munching on deep-fried snacks dripping with shoddy oil. You still enjoy eating it, but that doesn’t mean you can escape from food poisoning afterward.
The story hardly matters for a movie like this one, but I would actually give The Out-Laws some credit for having one and even putting substantial effort into pulling it off. Adam DeVine plays bank manager Owen Browning, which feels like an iteration of his Modern Family character, the highly positive, hyper-active male nanny Andy Bailey. Nina Dobrev, who is probably on a mission to normalize conventionally beautiful women falling for men who are not particularly attractive from a strictly physical perspective (refer to the 2021 Netflix movie Love Hard, in case you are wondering), portrays Owen’s fiancé Parker. Julie Hagerty and Richard Kind slip into the characters of Neil and Margie Browning, who are the bumbling parents of our goofball hero.
The lovely couple, Owen and Parker, planned their perfect wedding in a week, and everything was going just fine until Parker’s parents, Billy and Lilly, decided to make an appearance. Why is that important? Because they haven’t been around for a long time. In fact, Owen has never actually met them before. Apparently, the couple was living off the grid with some indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest. Billy and Lilly make a ghostly appearance and bump into Owen, who is making dinner while singing about having potential intercourse with Parker. However, the dude hits it off with his future in-laws until his bank gets robbed, and he can’t help but suspect Billy and Lilly. That is the crux of the plot, and from there on, it is a series of catastrophic events laced with a kind of humor we used to see three decades ago.
But DeVine makes it work. Despite the fact that he mostly plays himself everywhere, the actor has an undeniable charm. Even while playing a birdbrain character like Owen, DeVine puts his all in and makes the dumbest of jokes work. With his comedic talent, the actor clearly deserves better scripts. But the same can’t be said about Ellen Barkin and Pierce Brosnan. While the makers try their best to sell these two as the top draw, as Parker’s bank robber parents, Barkin doesn’t have any meat in her part, while Brosnan acts like he is on the set of his infamous Rajnigandha Pan Masala commercial. It would have been surprising if there was no James Bond reference with Brosnan in the fold, and the movie expectedly comes up with the lamest possible one, where Brosnan literally goes meta and calls his interpretation the best one. Sure, your movies were entertaining when we were kids, but have you seen Daniel Craig’s Bond movies, sir?
While Brosnan fails, Michael Rooker manages to shine. Armed with the character of a no-nonsense Police detective who is hot on the trail of these robbers, who have even cost him his marriage, Rooker brings both his dramatic process and comedic abilities to the part. I thought it was a deliberate mash-up of two of his most popular characters: Yondu from the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies and Merle Dixon from The Walking Dead. The Out-Laws also puts several popular American comedians—Blake Anderson, Lil Roy Howery, and Laci Mosley—on supporting duty. Anderson wears the hat of Owen’s cousin RJ, who is your stock pervert character here. Howery and Mosley are actually great as Owen’s colleagues, Tyree and Marisol. Especially Howery’s security guy trying to stop the bank robbers is one of the genuinely funny bits of this movie. The Out-Laws has no shortage of guest actors, as director Tyler Spindel brings in Lauren Lapkus, star of his previous movie The Wrong Missy, as well as Dean Winters to portray small but important parts. Lapkus is this uber-cool bank manager, Phoebe King of The Atlas Bank, while Winters’ Vince is the exact opposite of that—a sloppy bank manager who is terrible at his job. With Adam Sandler in the production seat, Jackie Sandler also gets to play a small part, making it a family affair.
The Out-Laws works as the movie you laugh at with your friends while you are all hammered or high on sandwiches, if you know what I mean. Honestly speaking, it is immaterial to talk about the technical aspect of these movies, especially when they are coming from the house of Netflix. Because no matter what the genre is, they all look the same anyway. And we, as an all-consuming audience, keep watching this content, which obviously motivates the Streamer to make more of it. Just to clarify, this is not exactly a criticism, but an observation based on analysis. I do believe every kind of movie should coexist. This probably sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I do believe that sometimes watching bad movies like The Out-Laws can actually enhance your experience when you watch something that is actually good. Ultimately, what you watch is completely your choice.