The master is back. Comedy king Albert Brooks plays Jerry Peyser, an anal
retentive podiatrist who fines himself trapped in an international arms deal
in the action comedy, THE IN-LAWS, directed with hilarious precision by
Andrew Fleming (DICK). Jerry very reluctantly finds himself teaming up with
Steve Tobias, his in-law to-be, if the wedding ever happens.
Steve, played by a never funnier Michael Douglas, is an international arms
merchant who may or may not be a CIA agent as well. Steve is currently in
the finally boarding stages of selling a stolen stealth submarine to a gay
French bad guy (David Suchet), who finds that he has eyes for Jerry. The
wedding is scheduled to happen on the same day as the sub sale. Meanwhile,
the FBI is on Steve and Angela (Robin Tunney), Steve's girl Friday, "like
trailer trash on Velveeta." Yes, the plot is ridiculously convoluted, but
you'll never care because you'll be way too busy laughing to ever let your
brain get in gear. My wife was laughing so hard that I started worrying
that she might injure herself.
Brooks and Douglas turn out to be a great comedic duo. Douglas's Steve is
as gregarious and likeable as Brooks's Jerry is unsure and cute. Steve
loves playing practical jokes on Jerry, as when he makes him think that they
are going to crash. Jerry is the original white knuckle flier, since he
literally gets anxiety attacks just watching airplane commercials.
From the opening number, set to James Bond's "Live And Let Die," the movie
has great music and acting to match. The casting, right down to the smaller
parts like those of the bride and groom (Lindsay Sloane and Ryan Reynolds)
and Steve's hated ex-wife (Candice Bergen), is all terrific. Although the
movie does lose some steam in the last act, it is wonderfully entertaining
and infectiously fun. It is also that rare PG-13 comedy that is just barely
PG-13 rather than a mislabeled R. Take the whole family. You'll all have a
THE IN-LAWS runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for "suggestive humor, language,
some drug references and action violence" and would be acceptable for kids
around 8 and up.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes