Lookin’ to Get Out (1982) – Review

2 Stars

A barely released Vegas comedy with a high-profile cast, including Angelina Jolie in her screen debut, directed by Hal Ashby is reminiscent of John Cassavetes or Tarantino, but Lookin’ to Get Out is a bizarre ramble with some truly unruly characters. Jon Voight brings a detestable character to life through sheer energy and constant chatter.

Alex Kovac’s (Jon Voight) gambling tendencies and con-artist abilities have led him and his best friend Jerry Feldman (Burt Young) into a $10,000 debt with the local bookies. So what do they do? Run off to Las Vegas to land one big score to get out of the hole forever. Of course things become complicated by the presence of Kovac’s former lover Patti (Ann-Margret), and a secret she has kept from him for six years. On their trail are two hoods intent on extracting every dollar owned and then some from the fleeing duo. Implausibly Alex remembers that the bellman is actually a retired blackjack whiz (Bert Remsen) and enlists the older man to help him scheme his way to riches.

At just over 70 minutes in length Lookin’ to Get Out isn’t an arduous journey but it is taxing none-the-less. To watch these characters fall further into deception isn’t amusing but uncomfortable. The banter between Voight and Young is at times very good but both actors have a habit of breaking into laughter, shattering any tension or realism in the storyline. The movie has the feel of a whimsical lark for adults, Ashby has assembled some of his favorite role plays for a weekend getaway to the desert. Somebody should have reminded them that the screenplay wasn’t completed.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Young, Ann-Margret

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