The In-Laws

CIA agent Michael Douglas tries to save the world - and his son’s wedding - in this action-comedy remake

Director: Andrew Fleming

Writers: Nat Mauldin and Ed Solomon, based on a screenplay by Andrew Bergman

Starring: Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks, Robin Tunney, Ryan Reynolds, Candice Bergen

Website: http://thein-laws.warnerbros.com/

With films like The Game, Falling Down and Traffic, Michael Douglas has made some interesting and surprisingly edgy career moves for a mainstream movie star.

Making The In-Laws, unfortunately, is not one of his wiser decisions.

Douglas plays Steve Tobias, a secret agent, who, in the run-up to his son’s wedding, must try to balance the demands of his job – saving the world from evildoers, basically - with those of his family.

The film opens with Tobias rushing back from an action-packed Prague rendez-vous with Russian gangsters to have dinner at his future in-laws’ Chicago home. (The Prague scenes were actually filmed in the Canadian town of Cambridge, Ontario, oddly enough.)

It’s a promising premise for a comedy and is, in fact, a remake of a successful 1979 film starring Peter “Columbo” Falk and Alan Arkin.

In the new version, directed by Andrew “The Craft” Fleming, Douglas is paired with Albert Brooks, who plays mild-mannered foot doctor Jerry Peyser, the father of Tobias’s son’s fiancée.

Through a series of not-particularly-comic misunderstandings, the deeply suburban Peyser is drawn into Tobias’s cloak-and-dagger world. Despite his protests, Peyser becomes embroiled in Tobias’s attempts to prevent French smuggler Jean-Pierre Thibodoux (David “Hercule Poirot” Suchet) getting his hands on an untraceable Russian nuclear sub.

As Peyser gets to grips with Tobias’s world, the CIA man, in true Hollywood fashion, learns a thing or two about becoming a better father from the podiatrist, and manages to save his son’s wedding from the brink of disaster.

The pairing of two actors as talented as Douglas and Brooks means that The In-Laws isn’t entirely without laughs - a scene onboard Barbra Streisand’s private jet is worth a chuckle or two, for instance - but as a comedy duo they never really click.

They’re also given precious little to work with by a screenplay that gets increasingly ludicrous with every passing scene.

Compared to Suchet, a distinguished British actor who has to ham it up horribly as the camp-as-tents Thibodoux, Douglas and Brooks get off lightly. Candice “Murphy Brown” Bergen, meanwhile, fares little better as Tobias’s embittered ex-wife.

On paper, this blend of national security and “work-life balance” issues must’ve seemed like a good bet to hook a 40+ baby boomer audience, but the producers seem to have given more thought to target marketing than to actually making a good film.

The end result is a comedy-thriller that isn’t particularly funny and isn’t particularly thrilling, but does have a nice cameo appearance by KC and the Sunshine Band.

PTV Rating: 2 out of 5

Czech Premiere: February 12, 2004
Czech Title: Dokud nas smrt nerozdeli
Runtime: 95 minutes
Number of Prints in Czech Cinemas: 18 (all in English with Czech subtitles)

Related articles

  • Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    An attempt at creating a new horror series offers nothing new

  • Movie Review: Life by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Lifeless drama on the International Space Station copies too much from other films

  • Febiofest tickets go on sale by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    The biggest film festival in the Czech Republic starts March 23

  • Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    A new live action version from Disney clears up some plot points but takes few risks

  • Movie Review: Masaryk by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Biopic of the Czech politician is likely more meaningful for a local audience

  • Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Bigger is necessarily better in this rather one-dimensional reboot of King Kong

  • Masaryk wins big at Czech Lions by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Český lev - Karel Roden with Ana Geislerova)

    The biopic about the Czech politician took a record number of awards

  • Bulgarian Film Festival starts by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    Films will be at Lucerna and Evropský dům cinemas

  • Movie Review: Logan by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    An aging Wolverine is at the heart of a surprisingly introspective action film

  • Amadeus returning to screens by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV

    The 1984 Miloš Forman film will play in a digital version

Facebook comments

Toboga Prague

Kids Indoor Playground in Prague 5, OC Zlicin

Goout.cz

Concert Tickets for Prague and Czech Republic

Rande Motýl Speed Dating

Get discounts on speed dating and meet other singles...

Bee Handy - Prague Handyman

Looking for a Handyman in Prague?

MoneyGram

Send cash around the world in minutes with no bank account...

Antik Bílá Hora

Antiques, collectibles and more ...

REal Advice

Expats do you find the Prague real estate market...

Altos Aesthetic Medical Clinic

It is great to be beautiful, yet it is even greater to be...

PragueMonitor.com

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…

PragueConnect.cz

Expat and Czech Business Professional Network

ManSprichtDeutsch.cz

Deutschsprachiges Informationsportal