Modern cinema is littered with gross-out and offensive comedies. We’ve become studio-fed by Apatow, Rogen, Rudd, Mottola, Macfarlane and the like. And whilst it’s brilliant to see actresses finally being cast in starring roles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the intelligence of the writing is any greater. Films such as Arthur Hiller’s 1974 comedy In-Laws are few and far between in this day and age. It’s rare to see something as well written as As Good as it Gets, Sideways or Little Miss Sunshine in the crowded multiplex market.
Mild-mannered dentist Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin) is excited about the weekend. His beautiful daughter is getting married and life couldn’t be any better. That’s until he meets the father of his future son-in-law. Vince (Peter Falk) turns up over an hour late for dinner and is a rather dubious and suspicious character who’s cagey when asked about his job. The next day Vince appears at Sheldon’s work and ask him for a favour. It’s not long until Sheldon is running for his life.
The In-Laws is graced with some great comedic performances. Arkin and Falk have a strange chemistry which grows during the film. They’re both brilliant; bouncing off each other with great energy. There are also magnificent supporting turns from Richard Libertini, Nancy Dussault and Michael Lembeck. The In-Laws a light, fun comedy which has been surprisingly overlooked and overshadowed by the dreadful remake. It’s a film which will entertain all ages.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary from 2003 featuring director Arthur Hiller, actors Alan Arkin and Peter Falk, and writer Andrew Bergman
- New interview with Arkin
- In Support of “The In-Laws,” a new interview program featuring actors Ed Begley Jr., Nancy Dussault, James Hong, and David Paymer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by comedy writer Stephen Winer and a 2011 recollection of the making of the film by Hiller
The In-Laws is released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as part of the Criterion Collection on Monday.