The In-Laws

Andrew Fleming

The In-LawsAndrew Fleming
Hopelessly miscast Michael Douglas plays C.I.A. agent Steve Tobias. After escaping a meeting with international arms dealers in Prague, Steve flies back to the States (wisecracking all the way) to have dinner with his future in-laws. The father of the bride is Dr. Jerome Peyser (Albert Brooks), an uptight podiatrist. Steve and Jerome are like oil and fire: Steve is hyper and exuberant, while Jerome is mild-mannered and bland. Steve tries to hide his espionage career from his in-laws until Jerome stumbles across Steve at work. To continue the mission, Steve is forced to drug and kidnap Jerome, who becomes mistaken for a heavy named "Fat Cobra" (don't ask). Together, the future in-laws crisscross the world, chasing arms dealers as the clock ticks down to their children's wedding. A remake of the 1979 Arthur Hiller film (also scripted by Andrew Bergman), The In-Laws is a painfully dull comedy from start to finish, with Douglas looking out of place in every scene, making for an unconvincing action hero and a flat comedian. A prodigious comedic talent, Brooks is straight-jacketed by a dry script and weak direction. The crucial scenes between Douglas and Brooks lack spark or wit. Extras feature audio commentary from director Fleming. Fleming reveals many details about locations, digital effects, set decoration and photography, but his "Valley Girl" intonation is irritating. Sadly, his commentary reveals the disparity between his ambitions and the disappointing results on screen. Other features amount to several outtakes divided amongst a four-minute gag reel, which isn't funny, two brief deleted scenes, one outtake, and successive outtakes of two Albert Brooks scenes (one set in a car, another a plane, both pointless). These generous extras are wasted on a mediocre film. Plus: trailers. (MGM)
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