“Director Richard Gray has outdone himself with his latest effort, with no small thanks to scriptwriter Michele Davis-Gray. And backed by such a strong and experienced cast, it’s no surprise The Lookalike turned out so entertaining.”
by Nav Qateel
Club owner and drug dealer Joe Mulligan is ready to quit the life and cash in on his fame as a former basketball star. Joe (Jerry O’Connell) plans to start his own cooking show and desperately needs $200 thousand to get the ball rolling. When beautiful Mila (Scottie Thompson) walks into his club and his life, Joe and she find they’re instantly attracted to one another and this gives Joe real hope for his future. Bobby and Frank, Joe’s former drug suppliers, need a girl to pretend she’s someone else for the evening, but they only have 24 hours to find this lookalike. With the promise of enough money to fix everyone’s many financial problems, Joe and his younger brother Holt (Justin Long), think they might have found the perfect candidate in the shape of Lacey (Gillian Jacobs), one of Joe’s old drug customers. Needless to say, nothing goes according to plan, thanks to some clever twists, and more double-crosses than Henry Hill could shake a stick at.
Penned by Michele Davis-Gray and directed by Richard Gray, The Lookalike is now the second film I’ve seen and enjoyed by the couple. This, however, is a more mature and accomplished film than last year’s horror-mindbender Mine Games. Now, The Lookalike does have a lot going on, with many arcs and twists that some may find taxing. But it successfully gets us from A to Z, without tripping over itself or asking too much of the audience.
The Lookalike is populated with some wonderful characters, and the important ones drew the right amount of sympathy and were fully fleshed out. Even Bobby and Frank (played by John Corbett and Steven Bauer respectively), whose backgrounds we don’t touch upon, never felt anything less than fully realised characters, but this is more to do with the actor’s performance than the actual writing.
There’s so much going on in The Lookalike, and the ensemble of fantastic actors, who each bring their A game to this production, making it difficult to talk about one without missing out the other. However, that’s the only way I’ll manage to keep this review succinct and to the point. The acting is unquestionably very good, with several of the characters deserving far more study than was realistically possible. My favorite character (and surely yours) has to be Mila, played quite brilliantly by Scottie Thompson. Mila is deaf, has an artificial leg and is terminally ill. Credit must go to both Davis-Gray and Thompson, because the feeling we develop over the course of the film, have nothing to do with any of Mila’s disadvantages per se, rather, they’re more to do with her actions, backed up with Thompson’s portrayal. There’s loads of humor written into the script and I found myself laughing frequently. But seeing this woman who has little left to live for, making fun of Joe while holding her artificial leg, made Mila feel quite special.
Justin Long’s Holt and Jerry O’Connell’s Joe, actually felt like the could be real brothers, and then you had Holt’s obvious chemistry with Gillian Jacobs’ Lacey. Like with Mila, Lacey was another character I wanted to know more about, but the fact I found these two characters more interesting than the men, could simply be that they were written by a woman, who understands the female characters more.
For me, the test of a good film is if I feel as strongly after a second viewing, and here The Lookalike scored major points. Director Richard Gray has outdone himself with his latest effort, with no small thanks to scriptwriter Michele Davis-Gray. And backed by such a strong and experienced cast, it’s no surprise The Lookalike turned out so entertaining. It was good seeing the prolific John Savage and Scarface co-star Steven Bauer back on form. Another reason I had such a fun time with this somewhat busy film, was down to the fact everyone knew not to take anything too seriously and simply enjoy the ride, as I suggest you also do. Highly entertaining!