It's one of those plot devices that gives screenwriters involuntary erections: Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, of 3rd Rock from the Sun and Brick) was a star athlete in a small Kansas town until a tragic accident left him with a mysterious cognitive dissonance. (Dummy tries to open a tin can with a garlic press!) And what better sidekick for a studly, angry, easily confused mope-about? A fat sassy blind man, of course (played by the always-excellent Jeff Daniels).
Unlike that other amnesiac protagonist in Memento, Chris realizes that you don't have to tattoo every fleeting thought onto your flesh to remember: You can just use a notepad. So Chris jots his life away, unable to remember the simplest thing, which makes him ripe for being taken advantage of. Soon some bad dudes (check the moustaches and tattoos!) rope Chris into helping them rob the bank where he mops floors by seducing him with some wang dang sweet poontang (belonging to Isla Fisher). The rest of the story follows the now-familiar neo-noir template closely enough that there are no real surprises.
The Lookout is veteran screenwriter Scott Frank's directorial debut, and it's impressive on many levels. The movie has a gritty, indie feel, thanks to impressive camerawork, a moody score, and smart dialogue. But there's one thing I can't figure out: Chris' character is elaborately set up with the whole brain damage thing, but the only reason he gets roped into the bank robbery is because he's the janitor there (okay, he's an easy mark, too, but it's mainly because he has a set of keys). His unique inability to organize thoughts doesn't enter the picture, as far as the heist is concerned. It's like writing in a three-legged kidnapper who just uses two of his legs the whole movie: You keep waiting for him to bust out some fancy tricks in an ass-kicking contest, but when he moseys around like a normal biped the entire time, you can't help but feel a little cheated.