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IN-LAWS, THE (1979): DVD

Vince (Peter Falk) is an unlikely CIA agent who gets involved with the Kornpett family via the impending marriage of their respective kids. The Kornpett's never knew what hit them, as Vince, the agency's loose canon (is he REALLY CIA?) involves the dentist father of the family, Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin), in a typically bizarre caper involving drugs, some valuable and a crazy Latin American dictator. That's all we're telling.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The In-Laws (this original, not the 2003 remake travesty) is one of my favourite comedies of all time. Alan Arkin and Peter Falk play it dead funny but deadpan, in this exquisitely crafted contemporary comedy - or is it a drama that simply is too real to be real, if you know what I mean - about a dentist, a CIA agent and lots more.

Director Arthur Hiller, with a natural penchant for comedy, takes Andrew Bergman's superbly honed script and fulfills every promise with pay off after pay off. One of the many memorable scenes involves an off the wall sequence in a flight on a tiny plane, with a Chinese crew, who deliver the entire safety instructions in Cantonese.

The first meeting of the prospective in-laws over dinner is another, as Vince tells his exotic story about large flies with beaks stealing babies in the African bush - flies that are protected under the Guacamole Act of 1917. And more, much more.

The comedy is heightened by Hiller's tight rein on the performances and the camera work: nothing is allowed to be bigger than life, creating a black undertone that pumps the humour with pathos - but the zing is in the tale. It's a very good story and the humour spurts from the combination of character and situation. Watch this without interruption.

And then go straight to the commentary track with the two stars and the filmmakers. They enjoy the movie all over again, and take us along for a highly entertaining return to the inventive comedy masterpiece. Bergman acknowledges he's never done anything as good since, and the anecdotes and mood of the commentary is infectious.

Published June 3, 2004

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IN-LAWS, THE (1979): DVD (PG)
(US, 1979)

CAST: Alan Arkin, Peter Falk, Richard Libertini, Nancy Dussault, Penny Peyser, Arlene Golonka, Michael Lembeck

DIRECTOR: Arthur Hiller

SCRIPT: Andrew Bergman

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Arthur Hiller, Andrew Bergman, Alan Arkin, Peter Falk

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: June 2, 2004

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