I have never seen this movie before watching it in class on Tuesday. I will shamefully admit I once as a sad 11 year-old watched the bathtub scene from the film on YouTube out of boredom and other things.... I am ashamed. Anyway, my reaction to this movie is - I did not like it. I don’t know what about this time period that was obsessed with these sudo-comedic movies about criminals/conmen but I’m glad that this genre has subsided for the most part. Maybe men like this movies? Whatever, I don’t understand men.
On just a pure opinion-based level, my biggest issue with the film is that I can’t understand this romance between Lopez and Clooney’s characters. It doesn’t make sense to me. The first time they meet, Clooney kidnaps her. Then he forces her to lie in the trunk of a car with him. But Karen gets over this very quickly and soon they're both in the trunk making quips back and forth with each other. Karen's calm and collected, even flirts with Foley. Slowly throughout the scene, it becomes clear that she's attracted, or dare I say, even feels for Foley. Amazing what being kidnapped can do in a first meeting.
In terms of the script, Lopez’s character is made out to be ethically ambiguous. Dennis Farina, plays her father in the film. Farina is an actually well known Sicilian-American actor. It sort of reminds me of the casting that happened on The Wedding Planner in which Lopez plays Mary Fiore, a daughter from a traditional, strict Italian family. Also, I looked up the casting in The Wedding Planner and it turned out Lopez's character was originally meant to be Armenian After Lopez was cast in the lead, they decided to make her character Italian…Hollywood is great. Anyway, I looked up more into the casting of Out of Sight and it turned out that apparently, Sandra Bullock was originally considered to play Lopez’s role. Soderberg gave this explanation for the obvious casting change. "What happened was I spent some time with Clooney and Bullock and they actually did have a great chemistry. But it was for the wrong movie. They really should do a movie together, but it was not Elmore Leonard energy.” Whatever that means...
It's obvious in the film that Soderberg uses Lopez’s body and race to mark and emphasis her sexuality. One scene Clooney sits in his car and watches Lopez get out of her car in his rear mirror. Other scenes try to explore female desire, including that bathtub scene which turns out to be Karen’s dream/fantasy of being with Foley. In many moments in that scene, Clooney is offered up to Karen and the viewer as the spectacle to be looked at and desired. He’s naked and conveniently asleep in a bathtub as Karen creeps into his room. None of these scenes registered with me. Her desire feels undercut by the film itself. The film always felt like it was about male desire (let it be for power, money, sex). Karen is always offered up as something sexualized for the viewer in a way that I don't know if Clooney always does in the film. I think we follow Clooney's POV and his story for longer and deeper than Karen.
I also found this review of Lopez’s performance by Stephen Hunter in The Washington Post back in 1998. The obsession with Lopez’s body and sexuality after Out of Sight is obvious. According to Hunter, “Lopez makes you feel the complexities of Karen, and her little twitch to run with the wolves. She has the beautiful woman’s trick of hearing only what she wants to hear, and as much as she loves being beautiful, she also loves stepping from behind that beauty and dealing with reality with the professional police agent’s untrammeled use of force.” First of all, this sentence makes me want to eat glass. Hunter seems too impressed by Lopez’s ability to wield of her body and beauty in her performance. He also suggests that Lopez’s inherently sensual onscreen presence gives her character kind of currency and power. Even in his wording, he creates the idea that beauty is something women need to “step” away from in order to deal with “reality” and the real world business. You know, guy stuff.