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The Ending Of The Out-Laws Explained

Barbenheimer dominated the summer's movie news cycle and the week's box office, but another film was an under-the-radar hit on Netflix this July. Based on viewership data released by the streamer, some audiences made a triple feature out of what's in theaters and available at home. The bloody and bawdy but otherwise by-the-numbers action comedy "The Out-Laws" is a brisk watch by comparison at 95 minutes, and it doesn't require the same intellectual engagement as "Barbie" or "Oppenheimer." "The Out-Laws" combines two old standby comedy setups — weddings and heists gone wrong — and plays with tropes fans will instantly recognize. The bride's and groom's parents couldn't be more different. The thieves want to call it quits but must pull off one last job. If Barbenheimer was a cinematic two-course meal, "The Out-Laws" is an empty-calorie snack. 

Starring Adam Devine as bank manager Owen Browning, the movie boasts more jokes than fight choreography. But former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, is here too (which the film not-so-subtly references), as the bride's handsome and intimidating dad, Billy, which helps make the premise slightly more believable. Rounding out the cast is Nina Dobrev as Owen's wife-to-be, Parker, and Ellen Barkin as her mother, Lilly, plus Richard Kind and Julie Hagerty as Owen's square parents, Neil and Margie. The plot, revolving around Owen and Parker's impending nuptials and a string of bank robberies, isn't particularly difficult to untangle, but its swift pace and light footing (not to mention distraction-filled home viewing) might mean some audiences missed a trick or two along the way. 

What you need to remember about the plot of The Out-Laws

From the get-go, we know Owen and Parker are totally and adorably in love. Sure, his mom insists she's a stripper and not a yoga instructor, but whether or not these will tie the knot is never in question. The problem comes when we learn that Parker's folks will attend the wedding. Previously, they'd claimed to be living off the grid with an indigenous tribe. Their absence from Parker's life means Owen's never met Billy and Lilly. Viewers might assume the tension will involve friction between the two sets of parents or between Owen and his in-laws. That tension is there during the movie's first act, but the differences between the characters resolve and "The Out-Laws" veers away from its wedding-centric storyline relatively quickly. 

The trouble starts when Owen inquires about Parker's parents' storage unit hoping to find family photos and, in doing so, unintentionally alerts Rehan (Poorna Jagannathan) — a trigger-happy crime boss — to their presence. Owen then spends a wild night with Billy and Lilly and, again, unintentionally divulges secret information about his bank's vault. The next day, the bank is robbed at gunpoint by a man who smells conspicuously like Billy (sandalwood and danger) and a woman who knew Owen's childhood phone number. Even before he's questioned by agent Roger Oldham (Michael Rooker), he puts two and two together and realizes his fiancé's mysterious mom and dad are the infamous Ghost Bandits. 

What's the twist in The Out-Laws?

Owen solves the mystery of Lilly and Billy's true occupation sooner than viewers might've expected (if they didn't see the trailer). That they signed their vehicle over to him and stashed their disguises in the trunk only confirms his strong suspicions, as does what he learns when he tails them to one of Rehan's homes. While hiding in the bushes (and evading a pack of miniature Dobermans), Owen discovers that Rehan, Billy, and Lilly had been partners. They give her $1 million stolen from his bank, but Rehan — still harboring romantic and unrequited feelings for Billy — reveals she knows about Parker (they'd tried to hide her existence) and intends to kill her on her wedding day if they don't come through with another $5 million by the end of the week. 

Meanwhile, Owen has already agreed to wear an FBI wire. Agent Oldham waits in his vehicle sipping from a flask as Owen, Parker, Billy, and Lilly visit a vegan bakery to taste wedding cakes. Owen and Oldham's plan to apprehend the bride's parents are foiled when Rehan and her goons show up to take Parker hostage and Oldham gets too drunk to intervene. A shootout ensues, during which most of the henchmen are violently dispatched, as are a great many non-dairy cupcakes. Parker is taken captive, which means rather than preventing bank robberies, goody two shoes Owen has no choice but to team up with the Ghost Bandits to commit them. 

How does Owen save Parker?

Billy and Lilly doubt Owen has what it takes to rob banks (they even give him a water gun instead of a real gun), but he reminds them he has valuable inside information. They want to go after the most lucrative target, Atlas Reserve, but he insists on a safer bet: hold up the truck that collects the deposits of a poorly run regional credit union. It's a solid plan, except everything that could go wrong does. Billy and Lilly battle the Brinks drivers, and Owen (disguised as Shrek) can't defend himself against a good Samaritan, then can't help himself from giving him CPR when he has a heart attack. The trio gets away, but as the police pursue them through a cemetery, they lose all but $60. 

With time running out, Owen schemes to gain access to the Atlas Reserve vault by acting like a banking industry fanboy. Billy and Lilly stage a decoy robbery, which allows Owen to stash $5 million in duffle bags and sneak out through the emergency escape door. His cousin RJ (Blake Anderson), an EMT, uses his ambulance as the getaway car, and Owen rendezvouses with Rehan. He gives her the money, expecting to get his bride back in return, but she admits she's going to kill them anyway. Mistaking a real gun for the water gun, Owen accidentally shoots and kills one of her thugs, then purposefully kills the other and Rehan in self-defense. 

What happens at the end of The Out-Laws?

Billy and Lilly arrive at the rendezvous point to discover that Owen has already rescued Parker. Agent Oldham, Neil and Margie, and the FBI are in hot pursuit. They know their fate is sealed, but their son-in-law's need not be. Billy reveals that part of his motivation for the bank heist — in particular, the framing of Owen with the masks, ammunition, and voice changer — was to keep Parker from marrying him. But after Owen stepped up to do whatever it took to save her, Billy no longer considers him a "pasty little goober" not good enough for his daughter. They allow themselves to get arrested, which gives Owen an opportunity to sneak back into Atlas Reserve's vault. He returns the $5 million to its spot and the authorities find him pretending to seek cover from the fake robbery.

Cut to Owen and Parker's wedding. They've already exchanged their vows and are enjoying their reception with Neil and Margie, RJ, and several of Owen's employees as guests. Then Billy and Lilly arrive, followed closely by agent Oldham. When Owen's parents wonder how they got permission to attend the festivities, the Ghost Bandits raise their cuffed hands. They turned themselves in and will plead guilty to the charges if they get to dance with the bride and groom. For good measure, they also reunited agent Oldham with his ex-wife. "The Out-Laws" concludes as everyone partakes in an awkward, shackled spin around the dance floor. 

What does the ending mean for the characters?

"The Out-Laws" ends with a meta-joke in which Owen's bank employees discuss how messed up it is that the bride's parents held them at gunpoint only days ago. The film had to end with a wedding, as many comedies do, and as all comedies that start with the romantic leads already engaged must. In that way, "The Out-Laws" follows a longstanding tradition that includes everything from the original 1950 "Father of the Bride" to 2005's more subversive "Wedding Crashers." But it also had to end with the bad guys getting their comeuppance, as is often the case in action movies and almost always the case in action comedies. 

The character resolutions are absurd when compared to what viewers would expect to happen in real life. It's completely unrealistic that so many people are shot and so much property is destroyed, without any real repercussions. But the too-clean ending is in keeping with this wacky hybrid genre. Parker (the innocent victim) and Owen (who only acted in her interests) get their fairytale ending. The entertaining but abhorrent Rehan dies. And the film's antiheroes, Billy and Lilly, are punished for their crimes but gain redemption as caring if not quite good parents. However, one final detail suggests that jail might not be the Ghost Bandits' ultimate destination. Straight-laced Owen winkingly tells Billy not to chip a tooth on the paperclip he's slipped into his cake. This could simply be a last-minute gag — or the impetus for a sequel. 

Will there be a sequel?

Action comedies like "The Out-Laws" don't lend themselves to sequelization in quite the same way as genres like superhero movies, kids' animation, or even murder mysteries. Netflix has ordered multiples of Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" movies and Gina Prince-Bythewood's "The Old Guard," plus its surprise hit "The Mitchells vs. The Machines." But original action comedies do sometimes turn into franchises. A second and third "Red Notice" are in the works for Netflix, though a better comparison might be Adam Sandler's "Murder Mystery." The 2019 film combines the popular whodunnit format with a comedic sensibility noticeably similar to that of "The Out-Laws." "Murder Mystery 2" premiered in the top spot with 42 million views. 

"The Out-Laws" notched less than half that total with around 20 million views, but still managed to land at number one in a crowded week. If it's a word-of-mouth hit for Netflix in the weeks to follow and a sequel could be produced on a reasonable budget, an "Out-Laws 2" isn't possible. The film was made by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions, and Sandler has one of the most-established creative partnerships with Netflix, dating back to the deal he struck with the company back in 2014 and renewed in 2020. Still, plenty of action comedies and Happy Madison movies remained solo projects, and with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes freezing the industry in its tracks, it's unlikely we'll hear about any future films involving Owen, Parker, Billy, and Lilly for a while. 

How is The Out-Laws connected to the Sandler-Verse

That "The Out-Laws" is a Happy Madison production isn't its only Adam Sandler connection. Tyler Spindel directed the film, and he just happens to be Sandler's nephew. A Harvard grad, he also directed the Sandler-produced "The Wrong Missy" for Netflix. As a younger actor, he appeared in movies such as 2008's "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" and "The House Bunny," and 2009's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and "Funny People." Spindel directed commercials and made shorts before getting into feature-length films and also works as a stand-up comedian. 

Sandler's wife, Jackie, can be spotted in the scene at the vegan cupcake shop. She plays Kay, the diva who day drinks, hits her head on a countertop, then uses red gel icing to fake her death to avoid being caught in the crossfire. Married to Sandler since 2003, Jackie pops up in almost all of her husband's projects. She played a waitress in 1999's "Big Daddy" (where she met the comedian), and most recently appeared as Tracey in "Hubie Halloween." She's in "The Wrong Missy" as well. That film starred Lauren Lapkus as the titular second Missy. In "The Out-Laws," Lapkus has a small but pivotal role as Phoebe King, the manager of Atlas Reserve. 

Adam Devine, filling what would've been the Sandler role in another era, co-produced "The Outlaws." Blake Anderson, who appears as cousin RJ, worked with Devine on the Comedy Central series "Workaholics." 

What has the cast said about The Out-Laws?

Adam Devine and Nina Dobrev told Screen Rant that they looked forward to portraying the engaged couple at the center of "The Out-Laws" because they'd been friends for more than a decade and felt they shared pre-built chemistry that would translate well to the screen. The actors even vacation together with their respective partners. As for acting opposite Pierce Brosnan, Devine joked that the casting worked perfectly. "I'm supposed to be intimidated by him, right?" he explained. "Turns out I am in real life! I didn't have to act very hard. He's just a truly striking-looking man." He added that once he got to know Brosnan off-camera, he found him to be nice and normal, though the former James Bond was, as one might guess, more adept at the stunt work than the writer-comedian. 

Brosnan and Barkin spoke with The Today Show about "The Out-Laws." The 67-year-old Barkin initially felt hesitant about doing some of the stunt work herself, but experienced a change of heart upon arriving on set and got a kick out of the fact that she could do everything that action star Brosnan could do. Barkin and Brosnan hadn't worked together before, but have mutual friends. She felt it was easy to play his wife since he reminded her of her real-life ex-husband, Irish actor Gabriel Byrne. Both actors said they had the most fun filming the cake shop scene, which required hundreds of specially-rigged cakes to explode.