Retro Review: The In-Laws

A new “odd couple” is born with a new spy-film twist.

Michael Douglas is Stephen Tobias, a rugged deep-cover CIA agent, who focuses more on his work that his life with his son, Mark (Ryan Reynolds) or his now ex-wife, Judy (Candice Bergen).

It turns out that Mark is about to get married to beautiful Melissa (Lindsay Sloane) but has yet to meet Mark’s parents.

Mark assures her that is a good thing. But Melissa’s parents, Jerry (Albert Brooks) and Katherine (Maria Ricossa) insist on meeting at least Mark’s father.

During the first meeting between Mark’s father and Melissa’s parents, mild-mannered foot-doctor Jerry stumbles in on one of Stephen’s spy plans and finds himself swept up in Stephen’s mess on the eve of his daughter’s nuptials.

How will this revelation effect the up-coming marriage and will the two fathers live long enough to get back to the wedding?

“The In-Laws” is one of the biggest surprises. I never thought in a million years that this film would be as funny as it is.┬áThe odd pairing of Brooks and Douglas pays off tenfold.

Their odd pairing and hilarious antics made me think some of the classic film, “The Odd Couple”. The film also reminded me a little of the 80s comedy, “Real Men” because of its off-beat way of bringing the audience into the story.

Brooks hasn’t been this funny in years. His neurotic schtick, which is probably more famous when played by Woody Allen, gives his character such innocence. There were so many priceless moments involving Brooks and how he relates to the spy-world.

Douglas seems to have journeyed back to his Jack Colton character, which he played in “Romancing the Stone”. There is definitely some of Colton in Tobias.

You can really see it when Douglas allows Tobias to put his guard down. That was always the funniest part of Colton and it is the same for Tobias.

Another great thing about this film is the caliber of people who are in the cast. You have some great upcoming comedy actors like Reynolds and Sloane and on the other side veterans like Bergen and Brooks. I wanted to see more of Reynolds since he is such a great comedic find. I have high expectations for that guy. I also really enjoyed Sloane when she was in the short-lived WB series, “Grosse Pointe”. I so miss that series. She to has a great potential to be more if given the chance in comedy.

This film knows where its strengths are and it continues the laughs over and over. I just wish we could have had more time with the supporting cast.

The film also has some interesting uses of music in its soundtrack. For instance the opening scenes involving Michael Douglas escaping from one of his spy missions involves a great car chase and a gun battle but the whole scene’s overture is accented by Paul McCartney’s infamous James Bond theme, “Live & Let Die”. It is a great addition as it seems to help build the spy feeling of the scene. Throughout the film there are interesting musical additions, which help put interesting slants and accents on the various scenes.

“The In-Laws” is such a hilarious movie!

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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