The In-Laws (2003) – DVD Review

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Film:
DVD:

Written by: Nat Mauldin & Ed Solomon, based on the original 1979 screenplay by Andrew Bergman
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Starring: Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks, Robin Tunney, Ryan Reynolds, Candice Bergen

Features:

  • Running audio commentary by director Fleming
  • Gag reel
  • Additional scenes
  • Outtakes with Albert Brooks
  • Theatrical trailer for this and the 1979 original

Released by: Warner Brothers
Region: 1
Rating: PG-13
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Borrow it.

Weddings are always some degree of traumatic. Sure, the bride and groom are happy–they chose to be together. But what about their families? They didn’t have any say in it–and suddenly they’re stuck with each other. Never was there a more apt example of this than the upcoming wedding of Melissa and Mark (Lindsay Sloane and Reynolds). Melissa’s dad (Brooks) is a very neurotic, very conservative podiatrist. Mark’s dad (Douglas) says he’s a copier salesman, but that’s just a cover-up for his work as deep cover CIA. When the worlds of the two Dads somehow irrevocably cross, anybody will be lucky just to get out alive.

Well, this was a disappointment. It’s easy to see what they were trying to do with The In-Laws (2003)–and Fleming confirms this in his commentary–they tried to take your typical Michael Douglas movie and your typical Albert Brooks movie, smash them together and bring the funny out of the juxtaposition. The first part of the problem is that Brooks just doesn’t feel real in the film at all–his usual neurotic screen persona feels completely out of whack even with the portion of the film that’s supposed to be his.

The biggest problem I had was the fact that Douglas’ part of the film–where he’s matched up with his partner/sidekick Angela (Tunney)–I could have watched a whole movie about the adventures of those two. It had the nice blend of adventure and comedy that Douglas hasn’t been able to pull off since Romancing the Stone. But sadly, we had this family comedy thing to take care of.

That’s not to say that there’s nothing in the whole of things to be pleased about: Reynolds is quote good, as is Tunney. Candice Bergen, even as poorly used as she is here, manages to elicit some yuks. But for the most part, the blending of the two genres just feels terribly awkward, Brooks feels totally out of place, and most of the jokes just aren’t funny. Watching David Suchet make passes at Brooks just feels illegal, and the fact that the movie ends on a prison rape joke just underscores how misguided the whole thing was.

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Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks

As for features, they’re even more bland than the film, I fear. The commentary states the obvious, and while he does provide some anecdotes about what it was like to work with the two leads and where some of the jokes came from (like the Streisand jet bit), it’s not terribly exciting stuff. The gag reel is anything but and the outtakes with Brooks aren’t funny; they barely serve as some kind of for-posterity thing to show how the man works. The additional scenes don’t over much else, either. Then you’ve got trailers and…well, that’s the extent of them.

If nothing else is on cable, you’d be okay sitting through this. But if you absolutely must check out the features, borrow it from someone else–I don’t know that I could advise you paying for it in any form.

David Suchet from The In-Laws (2003)

David Suchet from The In-Laws, where you can see a working title for the film: 'Til Death Do Us Part'

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By | 2010-04-04T04:07:44+00:00 October 28th, 2003|DVD, Reviews|0 Comments

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