While the Netflix original film The Out-Laws, starring Pierce Brosnan and Adam Devine, is undoubtedly entertaining, I wouldn’t call it a must-see film either. It’s fun and funny, but it borders on being way too silly, and many jokes miss the mark.
Adam Devine plays Owen, an underdog banker about to marry Parker (Nina Dobrev), who has yet to meet his fiance’s parents (Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin). The relationship Owen and Parker have is sweet, yet the connection is lacking, and much of the humor that comes from their dynamic is off-putting at best.
At moments, the audience is left questioning if these two are even going to end up together. Yet that isn’t what the story is about at all.
The action truly begins when Parker’s parents, Billy and Lilly (really now?), show up sooner than expected. They have big personalities, and it’s clear Pierce Brosnan is having a blast playing the role.
He and Ellen Barkin also work really well together playing these over-the-top, super cool characters who would rather get tattoos and go skydiving with their future son-in-law than the more relaxing activities he has planned for them.
Still, Owen has a positive attitude and winds up bonding with Billy and Lilly quite well. Maybe even more than he should.
The film is also aware of itself enough to offer a quick joke about the fifth James Bond that comes directly from Pierce Brosnan’s character, which I greatly appreciate.
Owen’s parents, meanwhile, are the exact opposite of Parkers’, which makes for a fun dynamic. I think we could all do without the joke that they think Parker is a stripper when she’s actually a yoga instructor, but otherwise, they’re fun to watch.
When he goes back in to work the next day, the bank gets robbed by the infamous “Ghost Bandits” — two people in masks who seem a lot like his future in-laws. Owen comes to believe that the bandits are actually Billy and Lilly, especially since the third part of a super-secure bank vault code is to sing, in the right melody, part of Blink 182’s “All the Small Things.” The use of those lyrics, by the way, is quite possibly my favorite joke of the entire film.
Later, Parker is kidnapped, and Owen winds up joining forces with his future in-laws to save her. Unfortunately, Nina Dobrev brings little to this character, which is already written as a bit too flat. While she does try to fight back a little, she generally just accepts whatever is happening to her. She’s the damsel in distress, and that’s really about it.
That plot point is frustrating, though it does serve the larger point of the story, which is that the underdog needs to become the hero. And it’s that idea that makes the movie satisfying despite its silliness.
Owen isn’t the hero type at the beginning of this film. He’s a kind-hearted caretaker type who loves crafting and cooking. He’s overly sensitive and cautious, and would never dare do anything illegal. That is until the love of his life is in danger.
This is where Adam Devine shines in his performance. Owen doesn’t hesitate to join forces with Billy and Lilly in order to save Parker, and from there, much of the comedy comes from his ineptitude. There’s a lot of slapstick humor here, which is fine, but some of the bits are so outlandish that it feels like we’re watching a children’s movie.
Still, the whole thing is entertaining, despite the fact that it does miss the mark quite often. It’s a light, fun, summer movie, and it’s definitely not boring.
Have you seen The Out-Laws? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
The Out-Laws is now streaming on Netflix.