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'The Lookout' (*** 1/2)

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Posted: Friday, April 6, 2007 10:00 pm

Judging by the late-'90s sitcom "Third Rock from the Sun," I never would have suspected that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have blossomed into a great actor. He was passable in the show, portraying an alien life form inhabiting the body of a hormonal teenage boy, but he gave little indication that he had it in him to deliver the kind of intense, layered performance he gives us in "The Lookout." If Gordon-Levitt continues down the road he's on (he also garnered favorable notices for last year's neo-noir "Brick"), he could very well establish himself as one of Hollywood's major young talents.

Gordon-Levitt plays Chris Pratt, a formerly gifted high school athlete who loses everything because of a single stupid mistake he makes driving home from a party one night. Because of his own carelessness, Chris finds himself responsible for the deaths of two close friends. He is left not only with unbearable survivor's guilt, but also permanent brain damage that makes it difficult for him to sequence events and, by extension, hold down a decent job or even relate to people socially. His only real friend is his roommate, a blind man named Lewis (Jeff Daniels) who helps Chris try to overcome his many challenges.

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