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‘The Lookalike’ Review: Everyone Has a Price In This Ridiculous But Not Quite Ridiculous Enough…

By  · Published on November 6th, 2014

‘The Lookalike’ Review: Everyone Has a Price In This Ridiculous But Not Quite Ridiculous Enough Thriller

Well Go USA Entertainment

A cast can go a long way towards making a mediocre movie watchable, and while it’s always best to have a script and direction to match sometimes the best you can hope for is a parade of familiar, engaging and talented faces. Several such faces appear in the overly busy and cluttered new film, The Lookalike, and – wait for it – they make this mediocre movie watchable.

A pair of drug dealing/club owning crime bosses (Steven Bauer, John Corbett) have a deal with a major supplier (John Savage) to provide him with a particular girl (Gillian Jacobs) for a night of expensive fornication in exchange for his drug business. When she dies in a freak chandelier accident they’re forced to find a passable substitute, and through a series of convenient coincidences involving their bartender Joe (Jerry O’Connell) and his brother Holt (Justin Long) they settle on a young woman named Lacey (Jacobs). Also along for the ride are Gina Gershon as a detective, Luis Guzmán as a heavy and Scottie Thompson as Mila, a one-legged deaf woman with cancer.

Like I said, it’s cluttered, and it only gets more so as the various plot threads and characters come together in a tale that boils down to the sad conclusion that everyone has their price. It’s far from an original idea – although so few movies are these days – but the problem rests in the execution outside of the actors’ hands. The script is convoluted and contrived, and it doesn’t allow its characters to behave in anything resembling a believable fashion. But hey, at least we get four sexy couplings cut into two different steamy montages.

Joe is an ex-basketball star turned drug dealing bartender, but as soon as he pays off his father’s debt he wants to quit the business and host a cooking show on the Food Network. Lacey shows up at his apartment for a pre-arranged drug pick-up, but in his absence she spends the night with Holt who, when not spouting self-righteous judgement calls about the real victims of the drug trade can be seen snorting cocaine and struggling to find a way to pay off a gambling debt. Joe misses the meeting after becoming entranced by Mila and her multiple challenges.

Anyway, just about everyone here is willing to cross legal and moral lines for a cash payout they see as their ticket into a new and better life.

Director Richard Gray and writer Michelle Davis-Gray cram an abundance of characters around this single transaction, but we find little reason to care about any of them for two simple reasons. First up is that the number of players here means few of them get much in the way of time spent building their character, but we also don’t care because pretty much none of them behave like real people. One character gets a great action hero scene and build-up along with some vital information and the off-screen opportunity to share it, but instead they simply blunder into their own death. Again and again the characters talk to each other, but they’re just not saying anything.

Gray makes odd directing choices too including not one, but two scenes featuring characters walking in slow motion toward the camera as explosions blossom behind them. One of them is a woman, something I can’t recall seeing before, but they’re still overkill and out of place. And then there’s the sex scenes. For some reasons the brothers can only fornicate simultaneously – at the same time, but not in the same place – so scenes of Holt and Lacey getting freaky are edited together with Joe and Mila’s romp session. Once is already unfortunate enough, but then it happens again later in the film for no discernible reason.

The Lookalike is a few script revisions away from a tighter, more affecting and thrilling story, but hey, at least that cast is pretty watchable.

The Upside: Great cast; some unexpected turns I guess

The Downside: Ridiculous antics and character actions; lack of real drama or concern for characters; nonsensical ending

On the Side: Richard Gray and Michelle Davis-Gray are attached to the English-language remake of Takashi Miike’s Audition. (Technically they’re adapting Ryû Murakami’s source novel.)

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.