Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

The In-Laws

I have been having trouble writing this review. Not because it's hard to form an opinion about the film. I have been having trouble because The In-Laws is uninspiring. I'm not moved one way or another. It's a flat film that doesn't do much for me.

Michael Douglas stars as Steve Tobias - the rambunctious father of the groom who might work for the CIA. Albert Brooks stars as Jerry Peyser - the boring, uptight podiatrist and father of the bride who is going crazy while planning the wedding. When Steve is supposed to be working a major crimelord/terrorist on the weekend of his son's wedding, Jerry gets dragged into the mess by accident, putting them both in jeopardy and possibly interrupting the nuptials. Hilarity is supposed to ensue, but don't hold your breath.

Will the in-laws destroy the wedding? Does Steve really work for the CIA?

A remake of the 1971 film, The In-Laws is an average movie with some laughs, but more often results in long stretches of idiocy and blah. The film needs to be a rapid fire, laugh a minute farce, but writers Nat Mauldin and Ed Solomon pass up on plenty of opportunities for laughs and leave the audience with dullness. Brooks and Douglas don't share a great chemistry, and both end up playing very one-dimensional characters that grow tiresome and predictable.

Brooks is sentenced to being the uptight nerd who always overreacts, while Douglas is the swinging wild man with no depth. The characters keep getting stuck in unbelievable situations that don't seem to flow along, but feel forced and contrived, even in the context of a movie. Both try to do the best they can with weak material, but their talents are not enough. Worst of all, Candace Bergen is wasted in what could have been a hilarious supporting role. The In-Laws is a dud from the first moment, and director Andrew Fleming doesn't do much to jazz it up, help make it coherent or end it in exciting fashion.

The In-Laws might be a good rental for those who like Brooks and Douglas, but it's not worth the full price of admission at your local Cineplex. Grade: C-

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