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

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps 34 years ago was funny

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

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

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:


Author: Lee Eisenberg ( 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

Author: Petri Pelkonen ( 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!!

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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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie to watch

Author: sarah ash from United States
19 February 2005

This is, as you have read in other reviews, a great movie. My reason for writing this review is not to review the movie, you can read that in other reviews, but to let you know that the DVD is so much better than the VHS (I bought the VHS copy a couple of months before the DVD was available for pre-order, because I didn't think it would be coming out on DVD). That said, the banter between the Peter Falk and Alan Arkin is really great, and at some point, you will find yourself quoting parts of the movie. My wife, who does not like "these kinds of movies" laughed throughout the entire film. Anyway, get the DVD and give the VHS away, that's what I did.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A funny movie in the old Woody Allen genre of Bananas

Author: dimplet from United States
12 August 2012

The In Laws could use some improvement. The secondary dialog could have been clever and interesting, but instead seems like filler. And the secondary acting is merely adequate.

What makes The In Laws worth watching is the interaction between Peter Falk and Alan Arkin, two great actors. It is the yin and the yang, the hot and the cool. And when you listen to them, particularly early on, it seems like improv. They really are reacting to each other.

The plot is a bit contrived, and makes little pretense of realism after awhile. But it works. You really don't know what, exactly, Falk is doing, and which side he is on, or even whether he is just crazy. That is fundamental to the movie.

Once they arrive in South America the roots of the movie become clear. This is a revamping of ideas from Woody Allen's Bananas - 1971, particularly the crazy dictator, and the American accidentally caught up in Banana Republic politics. Then the style of The Inlaws makes sense: the lightweight acting, the silliness and absurdity. It is a genre where the bar is set fairly low, but not as low as some of the so-called comedies that followed.

My favorite part, aside from the banter between Falk and Arkin, is the bit where James Hong gives a one-on-one "flight attendant" spiel to Arkin in Chinese.

Of course, Richard Libertini is great as the cracked general.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Funnier each time

Author: hatchersan from United States
4 February 2007

I agree. Saw this originally in Twin Cities when it debuted in 1979 and can't get enough of it. Great all around comedy, writing, timing, slap stick, parodies (Cavalry to the rescue, hundreds of cops in Mafia type suits attacking the bull ring, also akin to the final shootout in Butch Cassidy and Sundance, the chase car slipping and sliding on banana peels).

"Flames. I have flames on my BMW!" "I thought you came down to buy a magazine." "I did but all they had was Hustler, in Spanish, Hustlero!" And Sheldon -- Alan Arkin -- running down the street in Manhattan with the briefcase in hand being fired at by the unknown spy --"Oh, God, don't let me die on West 34th Street!" or something to that effect. Then dodging around the taxi cab as the spy shoots at him, while Peter Falk casually sips his cup of instant coffee in the coffee shop watching the cat and mouse game around the taxi cab. Priceless.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This movie is actually funny!

Author: john-2483 from Wisconsin, USA
5 February 2006

Unlike contemporary comedies which focus on sexual innuendo and subtle sarcastic wit, this movie uses core personality and character decisions to put two unlikely partners into hilarious situations and choices. This movie is actually funny! The insanity continues throughout, until the unlikely climax. Falk is characteristically a combination of accidental competence and possible insanity. Arkin is great as the unwitting accomplice. The plot gets crazier as it goes along, shifting locations and perspectives. You never know who's really working with whom (at least I didn't). We laughed and laughed mostly in sympathy for the NY Dentist.

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