The In-laws

The In-laws

DVD - 2008
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1979 version: Dentist Sheldon Kornpett is a respectable man. He has a daughter who is about to marry the son of a very suspicious character, Vince Ricardo. Nonetheless, Vince calls on Sheldon and convinces him to go with him on a series of adventures, claiming all the while that he is a CIA agent, and that what he is doing is in national interest.
2003 version: When two fathers of an engaged couple meet for the first time, they know they are very different. One is a podiatrist, happy with his quiet life. The other is a CIA operative, who lives life on the edge, and when circumstances gets out-of-hand, involves the other in an arms-smuggling sting.


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Dec 13, 2019

This is so much better than the remake. It's still funny after all these years.

Mar 29, 2019

This is a great movie. This is the 1979 version with the Greats of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin and the others in the cast are perfect you can go on with each cast members solid performances. The Script by Andrew Bergman is flawless. There are so many good parts you could quote just about the whole movie and laugh for days. It has so many great lines from the 9 month consulting trip story and the slides being Martinized, the Bay of Pigs being Vince's idea, and the other wild situations they get into and who could forget Serpentine.

The cast has said that they stay to the script 99% of the time which is amazing. This is a classic in all respects. It is not a documentary on the CIA but a screwball comedy in the tradition of the great entertainment of the past. They will never make a film like this again which is a shame. If you have not seen it - sit back and have fun watching this great movie. But pay attention there is a lot of subtle humor that you may miss if you are not listening and watching. Don't watch it on your phone unless you have seen it before and you want to relive it. Watch it with someone else - the larger the group the better. You will laugh and cry it is better than Cats. The crying is usually because your laughing.

A side note the remake is certainly not up to the original but few are other than the Maltese Falcon remake in 1941 of the original from 1931. The remake has it moments but most times it will make you laugh as it makes you remember this version. But lighten up and enjoy them and think about how inventive this story is and the turns it takes.

Peter Falk is brilliant, and Alan Arkin perfects confusion-giving-way-to-rage-ending-in-satori, but the Andrew Bergman script, though there are a couple bright spots, is shot through with chauvinism and bigotry. This comedy didn't age well. Even if it is comedy, the idea that an upper-middle-class professional residing in the suburbs represents U.S. cultural terra firma no longer applies, and neither does the notion that the CIA is just a company of regular do-gooder guys.

Jun 03, 2017

The Guacamole Act of 1917!

I'm not going to trash the 2003 remake starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks, partly because I like both actors a lot, and mostly because... I've never seen it. I don't want to see it; this 1979 screwball original renders any other version unnecessary.

Alan Arkin and Peter Falk are inspired casting in this hilariously deadpan take on the buddy films of the seventies. Sheldon Kornpett, a mild-mannered well-to-do Manhattan dentist, is trying to survive his unexpected and largely unwanted friendship with Vince Ricardo, the "businessman" father of his daughter's fiance. The opening sentence of my review references their dinner conversation, the first meeting between the families, in which Vince (Falk) calmly tells a lunatic story of witnessing small children carried off by giant tsetse flies during a consulting trip to Guatemala in 1954. For Sheldon (Arkin) this is the first of many confirmations to come that the affable Vince is absolutely out of his mind, but he's promised his daughter Barbara he'd give the new in-laws a chance.
Nevertheless, he gives Vince a skeptical look:

Sheldon (sarcastic): "Are you sure these are flies you're talking about?"
Vince (nodding sagely): Flies. The natives had a name for them: "Jose Grecos de Muertos." Flamenco dancers of death.

When asked what he did about this strange and awful phenomenon, Vince explains there was nothing really he could do, "given all the red tape in the bush." (Sheldon: "There's red tape in the bush?") Yes, Vince continues, it seems the flies are "protected against pilferage under the provisions of the Guacamole Act of 1917."

That's only 15 minutes into "The In-Laws," which gets weirder, wilder and more absurdly hilarious from there. This Criterion Collection version is a single disc but includes a 2003 Commentary track featuring director Arthur Hiller, writer Andrew Bergman and co-stars Arkin and Falk. Their amused observations and recollections about the making of the film (including a lengthy discourse on the classic "Serpentine, Shelly, serpentine!!" scene) are so entertaining it actually enhances the movie, making it even funnier.

Whatever your thoughts about the remake, borrow this DVD and see the original at least twice--once for the movie (these guys talk and laugh a lot, obscuring much of the dialogue) and then again with the commentary track, which confirms all involved had a wonderful time making this action-comedy classic.

Feb 22, 2017

This is the Criterion Collection release of the original 1979 film. It is an insane romp with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin at their best. Anyone who's seen it can spot a fellow fan with one word... "Serpentine!"

Oct 01, 2016

Ugh! Avoid. Stilted "comedy" although with a great cast.

Nov 25, 2015

the first one is far and away the best with peter falk and alan arkin. a great comedy and you really feel for the characters. the later one is ok but nothing special

Aug 25, 2014

Some fun bits, but the big stand-out is David Suchet in a bit-part.

Feb 25, 2014

I haven't seen this version but it would be hard to beat the first version with Peter Falk and Allan Arkin - check it out

This movie is hilarious! The actors are great, very well done. I highly recommend if you like spy movies, rom-coms, comedy's, or adventure films! It's all that, put together. Good job!

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