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The In-Laws
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The In-Laws More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Three Cheers For the Guacamole Act of 1917!!!

10/10
Author: theowinthrop from United States
13 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The premise of this film is really simple: if two families are about to enjoy the union of their children in a marriage, is it not likely that the in-laws involved can come to depend and help each other out in times of need? Most of us would probably say no, or want to know the extent of the help. However, when Vincent J. Ricardo (Peter Falk) asks Dr. Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin) to assist him in retrieving something from a safe in Ricardo's office, Kornpett is willing (if somewhat suspiciously) to do it.

The reason that Kornpett is suspicious is he is not quite certain what to make of Ricardo. They only met at Kornpett's house the night before, for a dinner party introducing the families of the bride (Kornpett's) and groom (Ricardo's) to each other. Ricardo acted...well oddly. He told tales of his business travels in Central America, including how in one country babies are being carried off by huge bats that are protected by the Guacamole Act of 1917. Kornpett hears this with a blank face, although his eyes do bug out a little in disbelief. Later, when Ricardo gets testy with his son over a comment about the former not being home enough, Kornpett can't believe the near rage that Ricardo demonstrates at the table. So his suspicions about his future in-law seem well based.

Shortly, after being chased and nearly killed by two men who are after the items that Kornpett picked up, the suspicions seem confirmed. Ricardo explains to him, over pea soup in a restaurant, that he actually is not a successful salesman but a C.I.A. operative (a photo in Ricardo's office confirms this: it is of President Kennedy, and the autograph refers to the Bay of Pigs Invasion). He is in the middle of a critically important mission in Latin America dealing with international finance and a conspiracy against the richest nations. Kornpett hears him out, and is upset to hear that there is more material that Ricardo hid in Kornpett's home the night before. He wants no part of it, and leaves to go home - only to find the police there. He flees, and does evade capture - at the cost of having his car repainted in a way he never would have wanted it to look.

Soon Kornpett is forced to join forces with Ricardo, and enters the deadly serious but (here) quite farcical world of international espionage and intrigue. At the end of the road is the ringleader of the conspiracy, General Garcia (Richard Libertini) who has a special little friend that makes Al Pacino's little friend in SCARFACE lethal but sensible in comparison.

THE IN-LAWS is funny. Arkin with his tight-ass repressive personality works well against the free-wheeling, anything goes Falk. Libertini appears only in the films last twenty minutes, but he does equally nicely as the ultimate in screw-ball dictators. Well supported by a cast including Nancy Dussault, Arlene Golonka, Penny Peyser, Michael Lembeck, and Ed Begley Jr. the film is just a laugh fest until the happy ending. As mentioned elsewhere in these comments Arkin and Falk should have made several films together. They have only done one other movie together since THE IN-LAWS. Pity.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This movie was worth waiting to see for years!

10/10
Author: Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW) from WILMINGTON, NC
20 September 2003

I've seen this movie and I think it's great! The previews have been stuck in my head for ages. Since the age of 5, I would try to picture the streets of New York in the back of my mind. And I picture the streets very well. This movie is a lot of fun, I liked the banana scene, I also loved the all the other scenes as well. The escape scene where the hapless dentist got the engraving plates from the office. And I liked the part where Peter Falk's character shoots Paul L. Smith in the arm. At least he lives. Though Falk's character hasn't been home for a while, he got a chance to see "The Price is Right" , it's one of my favorite game show of all times. Thae cute scene in the movie was the hand puppet of the leader of the country the duo were in. There is more I could say about the movie is when the two feuding in-laws got to the wedding on time in a seated parachute, and what more could you want from a movie like that. Be part of the family in which the in-law feeds on danger. The In-Laws is a true classic to the collector. 10+!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Fairly funny

7/10
Author: jeremy3 from United States
15 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have not seen the remake, and refuse to. I don't think that the remake could quite capture the magic that Peter Falk and Alan Arkin provide. This movie is a political satire. It spoofs the whole spy business and Latin American dictators. Falk carries the film as a seemingly weird CIA agent. Arkin is a neurotic dentist unwittingly placed in the spy game by his seemingly crazy in-law. The movie has plenty of laughs, and can be seen repeated with the laughs still being funny. The plot is a bit winding and confusing, but it is a comedy after all. Basically, the movie is carried by two great personalities -Falk and Arkin.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

How Could Yor Forget "Oops. Pigs"?

10/10
Author: Samantha-Kimmel from United States
25 April 2007

This film began the series, continued when Danny DiVito says "Ooops. Cows." The homage of "Oops. Some creature", always makes me laugh. The interjection into a chase scene of two frames of a pig, or a cow or whatever, which began in The "In-Laws", even makes "No Soap. Radio" amusing, but only in relation. Yes, yes, yes, the funnest American film of the last fifty years, bar none. Some are as funny as, but none are funnier. And the Godless creatures who did the re-make should be ashamed for the rest of their lives. After the original nothing else will ever be quite as good. But the remake was just AWFUL! I still pause and re-wind on ""Ooops. Pigs." I would rather have dental work than watch the remake.

K.A.Muston

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps 34 years ago was funny

5/10
Author: avgalia from Canada
5 July 2013

I do not want to be too harsh because perhaps when this movie was filmed some scenes that are too familiar in today's American movies were somehow original, but even so I believe that by 1979 it was quite common to see American movies with cars chasing each other and so on. But leaving that aside, it is quite difficult to swallow that an educated dentist would accept leaving his office in the middle of an intervention to make a favour to a guy that he hardly knew. And this is how all begins. So, the script has an original sin... Nevertheless, there are some good gags and a very good performance by Alan Arkin. And of course, the usual display of utter ignorance of Americans about the culture of the other American countries. For instance to make the Hondureans speak Spanish as if they were Mexicans.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Still funny throughout

10/10
Author: caa821 from Tulsa OK
25 April 2007

This was an outstanding comedy when released nearly 30 years ago. Seen again now, it is just as enjoyable, and with the added feature of being a period piece of its times.

Although exaggerated for humor, the small dictatorship where much of the film occurs was much more like the banana republics, which were more a part of Central America and the Caribbean during this era, than one might assume today.

Falk and Arkin were absolutely outstanding as a comedy duo, and one wishes that perhaps they had been coupled in other work as well.

Unlike most other films - even among the best - this picture had no slow or dull parts. The entire period on-screen was a continually interesting and humorous presentation.

I liked the "re-make" of this film better than most seemed to, perhaps because of liking Michael Douglas' and Albert Brooks' work so much. But it was re-made in name only, and like most fell short of its predecessor (Martin and Hawn in "The Out-of-Towners" is an even better example).

Catch this film when possible, not only for its humor, per se, but as a fine piece of nostalgia.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Falk and Arkin make splendid comedy team

8/10
Author: MartianOctocretr5 from Redondo Beach, CA
25 September 2006

Alan Arkin and Peter Falk made a great comic duo in this classic comedy. Each one bounces off the other in excellently timed humor.

The story is wild and off the wall. Peter Falk's secret agent guy is too, and he has you and co-star Alan Arkin guessing whether he is a legitimate government agent, or some kind of schizophrenic maniac. The two are the respective dads of two soon to be wed kids, and their shenanigans take precedence over their offspring and the upcoming nuptials. Arkin's straight-laced everyman who rapidly waxes panicky, then neurotic due to being suddenly cast in the bizarre world of Falk makes for brilliantly hilarious contrast between the two.

Needless to say, Falk is on a case and gets Arkin inexorably caught up in the situation, which soon degenerates into a wild romp with loud explosions, shootings, and other confusion. The "Serpentine!" routine is a classic of riotous buffoonery.

Falk and Arkin understand comedy, and manipulate it well. Their comic chemistry is worthy of comparison to some of the classic duos over the years, as they ping-pong the lunacy back and forth with expert timing and delivery. This original is far better than its recent remake, and is recommended.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

hilarious

10/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
10 September 2006

There have been many comedies focusing on weddings, but "The In-Laws" may have brought the genre to its panacea. Featuring Alan Arkin (as the bride's father) and Peter Falk (as the groom's father) going on a series of crazy adventures right before the wedding, the whole thing's a laugh a minute. It just makes one happy that cinematic humor in the '70s shifted to the completely loony, and Arkin and Falk make a great comic team. I would imagine that everyone had a lot of fun on the set. Featuring Ed Begley Jr. and David Paymer in his debut. There was a remake, but I heard that it was pathetic. So stick with this one and you'll have a really good time.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Falk and Arkin work great together

9/10
Author: Petri Pelkonen (petri_pelkonen@hotmail.com) from Finland
25 August 2006

Dentist Sheldon S. Kornpett's (Arkin) daughter Barbara (Penny Peyser) is getting married to Tommy Ricardo (Michael Lembeck).Sheldon finally gets to meet the groom's father, Vincent J. Ricardo (Peter Falk).It is found out that Vincent works for the CIA and gets Sheldon in all sorts of troubles.He almost gets shot many times and eventually finds himself from Tijada, Honduras.Arthur Hiller's The In-Laws (1979) is an action comedy that's really well written.It also works so good due to great team work of the two main actors.Peter Falk, 78, and Alan Arkin, 70, have more chemistry between each other than in a chemistry factory.Falk, who takes me to my childhood with his Columbo character, gives a great performance here as the wacky government agent.Arkin is very funny with his "Don't shoot the dentist" routine.They're both very funny and they share some incredible amount of energy as does the whole movie.There's also Richard Libertini as the stark raving mad General Garcia, Ed Begley Jr. as the CIA guy Lutz, James Hong as Bing Wong and so on.Every single actor is incredible in the movie.This is a movie that will make you laugh.If it doesn't, seek help.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Serpentine Shelly! Serpentine!!

10/10
Author: anonymous from Garfield, NJ
19 August 1998

This is quite simply one of the funniest movies ever made. The interplay between Shelly, Vince, General Garcia, and really all the characters is priceless. The film is really cast perfectly. Alan Arkin seems born to play Sheldon Cornpett (Shelly, I call him.) And Peter Falk seems to be having the time of his life as Vince. Who better to play General Garcia than Richard Libertini? Of course you have to overlook huge bits of logic to really ejoy this film (How can the family have voted for Vince to retire from the CIA when only an hour or so before they didn't know he was in the CIA?) But the look on Shelly's face when he realizes that they had scammed $5 million each is maybe my favorite moment in a movie I've seen (conservatively) 40 times.

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