The spirit of Elmore Leonard hangs over the characters but not the kooky plotting of "The Lookalike," a New Orleans-based crime thriller that makes the most of its cast of familiar faces.
Gangsters Bobby (John Corbett) and Frank (Steven Bauer) are left scrambling after a freak accident kills the woman who had captured the interest of a prospective business associate. Their solution: Find a convincing replacement. For that they turn to Joe (Jerry O'Connell), a drug-dealing former pro basketball player who dreams of getting his own cooking show on the Food Network.
It turns out Joe's debt-ridden, addicted brother, Holt (Justin Long), has just started dating someone (Gillian Jacobs) who happens to bear a distinct resemblance to the dead woman.
It all gets sillier as the film goes along, but credit Australian screenwriter Michele Gray for coming up with undeniably quirky characters, most memorably a cancer-stricken, one-legged, deaf cocktail waitress with her own agenda (terrifically played by Scottie Thompson).
Weaving a cohesive tapestry from these threads proves trickier. Director Richard Gray, the writer's husband and a man obsessed with slow motion, doesn't build necessary tension into the playfully pulpy material.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.