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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The In-Laws



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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted October 05 2003 - 12:03 PM

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The In-Laws





Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2003
Rated: PG
Film Length: 98 Mins.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, French and Spanish





The Feature:
The In-Laws is a remake of the 1979 film of the same name starring Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. Ironically, much of this movie was shot in my home town and like many new releases, in the Toronto area. And as a fan of Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas, it is a film that I very much wanted to like. But we’ll talk about that later…

As the movie starts and the opening credits roll, we get the impression we’re in for a serious espionage spy picture. Everything is quite serious and shot with blue filters to give it that serious, European feel.

As a CIA operative, posing as a copier salesman, Steve Tobias (Michael Douglas) has spent his life in constant danger. He acts as a slick, over the top salesman who seems to follow-up on very few of the promises he makes. With an ex-wife (Candice Bergen) who hates him and a son Mark (played by Ryan Reynolds) who is consistently disappointed by him, Steve is promising to turn over a new leaf in the wake of his son’s wedding. When Jerry is asked to have dinner with his son’s prospective father-in-law Dr. Jerry Peyser (Albert Brooks) he sees this as an opportunity to show his son that he really cares.

However, chaos soon erupts when Steve is unable to separate work from family. Steve spends his days dodging bullets and holding secret meetings with international smugglers. Meanwhile the tremendously conservative Dr. Jerry Peyser (a Podiatrist) spends his life trying to remain as stress free as possible. Afraid of pretty much everything from flying to heights, Jerry carries a “fanny pack” filled with everything from a personal safety horn to a collapsible cup, in case of emergencies. These two men couldn’t be any more different.

Jerry has planned the perfect wedding for his daughter, down to the very last detail that she doesn’t even want. Steve’s odd behavior, washroom brawls and cryptic references to someone named Olga, has got Jerry wanting to call the whole wedding off.

Suddenly, Jerry finds himself amidst in the chaos of Steve's life. Taking a bizarre turn for the worst, the pair wind up en route to a meeting in France after having procured the use of Barbra Streisand’s private plane for the trip. Jerry keeps trying to convince his family and the FBI that he really isn’t involved. The situation gets more complicated when Steve gives Jerry the code name “Fat Cobra” and an arms dealer, Jean Pierre, becomes attracted to Jerry. Did I mention we get to see Albert Brooks wearing a red thong bathing suit climbing out of a hot tub…?



Video:
As we might imagine, the transfer from this recently released picture is virtually flawless. Colors are exceptional and saturation seems perfect. Image is sharp in detail with only a minute amount of grain present. I could detect no dirt or scratches and only a hint of any type of haloing which was present in a few scenes. Carefull… a fullscreen version exists.

The opening scene as well as the initial “spy” scenes were shot with a blue filter as to add to the suspense as well as a few day for night scenes rendering a dusk look.

This is a pretty impressive video offering.



Audio:
The DD 5.1 is a more than adequate soundtrack given the content of the film. Granted, there are a few chase scenes, a few plane flyovers all of which are rendered quite nicely. Dialogue was always intelligible and most of the music chosen to accompany the film had a nice sense of richness at the front end. Surround use was occasional but effective and LFE was used only sparingly.

A DD 5.1 track that is certainly adequate considering the given content.



Special Features:
There are a few special features included with the disc. The first is entitled a Commentary By Director Andrew Fleming… which is a movie long commentary where he voices over many of the noteworthy scenes offering up a rather dry but informative look at the film. There is a fair amount of dead time, and the information is informative but Fleming doesn’t seem to be too enthusiastic about bestowing his knowledge upon us.

Next up is a Gagreel which is nothing more than a few clips which I didn’t find particularly funny. Duration: 3:47 mins.

Additional & Alternate Scenes has three scenes which are slight variations of their theatrical counterparts. Duration: 3:12 mins.

These deleted or alternate scenes add little or no value to the disc.

Multiple Takes With Albert Brooks… In this clip Albert Brooks is in the back seat of the FBI vehicle where he goes over and over a certain dialogue, however repeating the lines changing his inflection during different parts of the scene. As funny as Brooks is, this is a perfect example of his professionalism. Short but very interesting. Duration: 4:21 mins.

Theatrical Trailers contains both trailers from the original 1979 version as well as the feature version.

Finally, I stumbled upon an Easter Egg which is nothing more than a two minute clip of Douglas and Brooks descending during a parachute scene against a blue screen backdrop. Did I mention I hate Easter Eggs…?



Final Thoughts:
Admittedly, for the first thirty minutes of this movie, I found myself slack jawed staring at the screen like a deer caught in the headlights saying to myself, “are they serious”…? It did come around… finally and was, well… rather entertaining. The movie had definite potential but unfortunately fell flat during many of the comedy scenes. While Brooks was terrific, I couldn’t help but think that Douglas was too top heavy for the part.

Although the presentation offered on this is flawless, The In-Laws isn’t a keeper. It is mildly amusing and one that you might want to rent one night when the blockbusters are absent from the shelves.




Release Date: October 7th, 2003
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted October 06 2003 - 01:00 PM

i just watched this over the weekend and thought it was funny.
i didnt see many good reviews when it played at the movies so i didnt expect much.
i enjoyed it.
well worth a rental. and albert brooks was better then i have seen him in awhile.

i's say 3 out of 5 stars.
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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted October 06 2003 - 03:06 PM

I saw it in the theatre and thought it was pretty funny. Really pales in comparison to the original though.
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#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Denton

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Posted October 09 2003 - 06:34 AM

Pass this one and see the original.

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#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Yumbo

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Posted October 09 2003 - 08:19 AM

I really liked this movie, especially the use of songs. very poignant.

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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Steve K.H.

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Posted October 09 2003 - 04:49 PM

Pales in comparison to the original? Well, the original is one of my favorite comedies of the 70's and if this isn't close, then no way I'll spend the money to rent let alone purchase...

...don't want to spoil my memory of the classic.

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