"In-Laws’ falls flat | SummitDaily.com

"In-Laws’ falls flat

Remaking a comedy is a risky business. Adding 007-stunts to a comedy is even riskier. The 2003 version of “The In-Laws” (first made in 1979), falls flat on both accounts.

“The In-Laws” isn’t so much a terrible movie as it is mediocre – which may be worse.

At least a bad movie fuels a passion to spew about how bad the movie really is. But I walked away from “The In-Laws” feeling unaffected – flat. To make matters worse, Dan Thomas, my “he” counterpart, is on vacation, so we can’t banter to create more energy around the movie.

“In-Laws” had a lot of potential: wedding plans gone awry, fathers with opposite temperaments, sexually-charged relationships doomed to failure and a decent plot.

Steve Tobias (Michael Douglas) works as a secret agent who tries to prevent a French smuggler, Jean-Pierre Thibodoux (David Suchet), from obtaining a Russian submarine. His James Bond lifestyle prevents him from being a good father and husband, but he’s determined to make it up to his son, who’s about to get married, by meeting the in-laws. But his dangerous career clashes with the bride-to-be’s father, Jerry Peyser (Albert Brooks).

Jerry is an anal-retentive, neurotic podiatrist who has anxiety attacks watching airline commercials, and of course, he’s the unwilling person Steve drags on all of his 007-adventures.

The movie’s parts end up greater than the sum of its whole.

It begins on an interesting note with a dark secret-agent-meeting-turned-car-chase set to a Beatles tune. Juxtaposing John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s lyrics in “All You Need Is Love” with car crashes and explosions throws viewers off track and prepares them for an interesting ride.

But the ride slows into a trickle of stereotypical scenes based on such themes as: neurotic father meets 007-type father; neurotic father carries a fanny pack; 007 is untouchable; the FBI agents tracking 007 are fumbling idiots; the French guy’s mansion is filled with hardbodies, and every scene with him involves sexual innuendos; and the ex-wife is bitter despite her Buddhist practices.

Occasionally, the movie breaks out of stereotypes or simply does a nice job of cashing in on stereotypes, such as when the French smuggler announces he’s much calmer now after listening to guru Deepak Chopra – then shoots to kill a man.

Though it garners some laughs, the overall feeling of “The In-Laws” is that it tried, but failed, to cash in on the hysterics “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” generated.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at


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