Out of Sight

Bomb Rating: 

George Clooney isn't an actor. He's a smirker. He's mastered theart of smirking and parlayed it into a film and television career. Along with David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston and the rest of NBC's Thursday night, give-me-a-million-dollars-an-episode-or-I-walk stars, Clooney has successfully transplanted his one-dimensional schtick from one medium to another. Jack Foley is Doug Ross, emergency room wise-ass.

Jack Foley is also an ex-bank robber who breaks out of prison with the help of his buddy, Buddy (Ving Rhames), and encounters a federal agent, Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), who tries to stop them. George and Jennifer hop in the trunk together with Buddy at the wheel and basically fall in love right there. We then spend the rest of the movie watching them work out their confusion.

Jack works out his confusion by helping rob the house of a crooked stockbroker, Richard Ripley (Albert Brooks in another cameo role because he's finally realized that nobody can stand him onscreen for more than five minutes), with Glenn (Steve Zahn) and Maurice Miller (Don Cheadle). Karen works out her confusion by talking to her father, Marshall (Dennis Farina). No one, however, seems willing to step up to the plate and help the audience work out its skull-crushing boredom.

This whole fiasco is traceable to the same producers who inflicted "Get Shorty" on the public, and the same director, Steven Soderbergh, who actually enjoyed some initial success with "Sex, Lies and Videotape." Since then, however, Steve's subsequent projects "Kafka" and "The Underneath" have gone right down the box-office toilet, apparently leading him to the conclusion that he'd better sell out before it's too late. To do so, he's gone neo-noir, hoping there's room in Quentin Tarantino's pants for more than just spare change. Filled with more talking head sequences than an episode of "60 Minutes," "Out of Sight" makes sure that we're a lot more aware of its hipness than its point.

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