The Lookalike

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Lookalike Movie Poster Image
Drugs, sex, and violence in mediocre crime thriller.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 100 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite heavy violence, there's a basic anti-drug message. Drugs aren't seen as enjoyable, and characters try to quit using and/or selling.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though main characters are drug dealers and drug addicts, they all make an attempt, in the end, to go straight. The main character realizes his dream of quitting drugs and creating a cooking show. Women are often treated as objects.


Several characters are shot and killed, with some blood shown. A chandelier falls on a woman and kills her. A character tries to rob a store with a gun; hand is hit with a hammer. Characters are hit with blunt objects. A woman is kidnapped and nearly murdered. Characters struggle over a loaded gun. Grenades are thrown, with explosions. Characters are attacked with knockout drops. A character considers suicide.


Topless women in nightclubs; some briefly shown, one shown for a few moments. Kissing and sex scenes between couples. Rough, unpleasant sex scene between a gangster and a woman he's hired. Male and female bottoms are shown. Strong innuendo.


"F--k" us used several times. Also "s--t," "p---y," "bitch," "ass," "vagina," "screw," "bush."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Major characters are drug dealers and/or drug addicts. Cocaine manufacturing. Cocaine snorting. Mention of "crack." Characters drink casually throughout, in bars or at home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Lookalike is a very edgy, mature crime thriller. Major characters are either drug dealers or drug addicts; viewers see cocaine manufacturing and cocaine snorting, as well as casual drinking throughout. Women are treated as objects, and minor female characters are shown topless. Both male and female bottoms are shown. Several sex scenes are shown, including one unpleasant one between a gangster and a hired woman. Many characters are shot and killed, with some blood. Characters fight and are hit with blunt objects, and a woman is kidnapped. Language is also very strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and lots more. On the plus side, the movie does have a vague anti-drug message; in the end, all of the main characters make an attempt to clean up.

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What's the story?

Joe Mulligan (Jerry O'Connell) is a cocaine dealer who dreams of starting his own cooking show but must work to pay off an old debt. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Holt (Justin Long), has racked up debt of his own and has become addicted to Joe's supply. After an accident, Joe's boss (John Corbett) is charged with finding a lookalike for a blond girl to sleep with the big boss (John Savage): Strung-out Lacey (Gillian Jacobs), who goes to buy drugs and meets Holt instead, fits the bill. Lacey and Holt begin a love affair just as Joe meets and falls for a beautiful deaf woman, Mila (Scottie Thompson). And then there's the cop (Gina Gershon) tailing Lacey. But the brothers just might be able to turn a corner, if they can survive one deadly night.

Is it any good?

This movie feels unbalanced, as if it were either trying too hard or not trying hard enough and never really decided what it actually wanted to -- or could -- be. Written by Michele Davis-Gray and directed by Richard Gray, THE LOOKALIKE seems like it ought to be a comedy, given that it stars normally goofy actors O'Connell and Long; perhaps consequently, it has trouble establishing a tone. It tries for "breezy," but that sours as the movie tackles serious themes like drug addiction and women being treated as sex objects.

Plus, it simply tries to juggle too many characters, plots, back stories, and motivations; by the time it all comes to a head, viewers might feel that they've missed something. And by introducing so many threads, it's inevitable that the movie fails to tie them all up in any satisfying way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Lookalike's violence. Is it subtle or over-the-top? How much is shown? Is it thrilling or gruesome? How much of it is necessary to the story?

  • How is sex presented? Which scenes are tender, and which aren't? What's the effect/impact?

  • How are women treated in the movie? Are any of them portrayed as strong characters?

  • How are drugs and drug dealers depicted in the movie? Do you think drug use is glamorized?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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