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In & Out

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: In & Out

Starring: Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack
Director: Frank Oz
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: September 1997
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Tom Selleck, Debbie Reynolds, Matt Dillon, Bob Newhart

Review by David Wilcock
2 stars out of 4

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

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