Kevin Kline (I Love You To Death, 1990) stars in this amiable,
yet not entirely funny, comedy. He play Howard Brackett, an
English teacher in the peaceful, almost perfect town of
Greenwood. He is about to marry Emily Montgomery (Cusack),
and everything is perfect. However, one of his former pupils,
Cameron Drake (Dillon), now an actor, wins an OSCAR. And at
the end of his speech, he says that Howard is gay. Soon, the
whole town wonders if he is, Howard insists he isn't, and the
media start to invade his life, including gay reporter Peter Malloy
(Selleck). The small town of Greenwood is thrown into chaos.
Even with this good setup, the film doesn't deliver enough good
gags. The screenwriter, Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey, 1995), who is gay
himself, has written every single obvious gay joke there is. There
are no really original gags present. He also relies too much on
scenes with many people being still and looking shocked. Although
funny the first few times, the joke gradually wears out, and just
stops being funny. The cast, however, are excellent. Kevin Kline is
funny as Howard, getting increasingly panicked throughout the film.
Selleck (Three Men and a Baby, 1988) is also good as the gay
reporter, although he could of had a more meatier role. Dillon is
also good, although he hardly features in the film at all. The acting
honours, though, go to Joan Cusack, delivering a brilliant
performance of Howard's wife-to-be, and the way she goes
psycho is hilarious. Again, her role is underwritten (like every
character in this film), but she is fun.
However, Frank Oz's direction is pretty poor. He always seems to
mess up a good joke. Like What About Bob?(1990) and Little
Shop of Horrors(1986), every time a good joke seems on the
horizon, it never appears. There are so many missed opportunities
in this film, it hurts. The jokes that do work, though, are usually
funny, and there are some laugh-out-loud jokes in there. But the
jokes are very hit and miss, with more misses than hits.
In & Out, then, is never quite as funny as it should be. In fact, the
only really funny scene in the film are the clips from Dillons
OSCAR winning film, "To Serve and Protect", about a gay solider.
Perhaps if that film had been made full length, it would of been
funnier than this. Although watchable, overall In & Out is never as
funny as it could be. Disappointing.
Copyright © 1997 David Wilcock