It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Now here is a curious case, a movie in which good performances are sabotaged at every turn by a story that not even the people in the movie should be able to believe. "Lookin' to Get Out" is a gambling movie based on so many questionable or erroneous assumptions about gambling (and human nature) that we're constantly asking questions just when we should be buying everything on the screen. One of the joys of moviegoing is to find a movie that wears its expertise lightly. This one checks its expertise at the door.
The movie stars Jon Voight and Burt Young as best friends and gambling partners in New York City. Voight is an addicted gambler, a compulsive loser who gets himself $10,000 in hock to some very tough guys. So he talks Young into joining him on a weekend flight to Las Vegas -- where, totally broke, they hope to con a casino into letting them win enough money to get even.
Up until then, "Lookin' to Get Out" has shown some promise. But the movie goes wrong from the moment Voight and Young step off the plane in Las Vegas. And it goes obviously wrong, puzzlingly wrong: Why does the script abandon any pretense of plausibility and maroon the characters in a TV sitcom wasteland of coincidences, meet-cutes and impossible lucky breaks? And why does it provide them with a casino where they get away with murder?
Voight and Young fast-talk themselves into a complimentary deluxe suite at the MGM Grand Hotel. How? Wouldn’t you know, the character Young plays is named Jerry Feldman, and a Jerry Feldman is on the "comp" list at the hotel. Nobody checks any ID, nobody checks anything -- not even when "Feldman" walks up to the cashier's booth and gets a $10,000 cash advance.