My interest waxed and waned. The set up for the film seemed to take eons. Frank overstuffed the script with exposition, multiple subplots and some seemingly unnecessary sequences. Just as I was ready to dismiss the movie, he switched gears.
One senses the screenplay was repeatedly worked over in a seminar or honed using a software program. With stock characters, salty language, caper tension and heartfelt drama, it's calculated to please.
Instead of a funny heist flick or a comedy with thrills, [writer Scott Frank] sketches out a gentle sine wave of a movie. It oscillates from not very funny to not very thrilling without ever being in a hurry to get where it's going.
Throwing a mentally impaired dude into a heist drama doesn't really add much. There are times when the audience will forget that Chris is disabled, partially because Gordon-Levitt isn't very persuasive.
The Lookout is without the noose-tightening suspense or moral complexities of similarly themed thrillers. And the rare bits of business or color are too familiar and derivative to be diverting, and point to a conclusion that is ultimately the same.
Tends to bubble along as a plot-boiler. Chris' guilty fantasy about the past girlfriend, just as he works up nerve for some major action, is the kind of twist that one studies screenwriting to learn and then surpass.