126 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2000
All respect to Mel Brooks, early Woody Allen, Blake Edwards and any other brilliant filmmaker who has turned their talents to creating the ultimate comedy...they all must take a back seat to this film.
I've never experienced such a perfect merging of screenplay, characterization and direction. Arkin and Falk have a chemistry and timing that simply must be seen to be believed.
I've been a movie buff for a long time, but I must admit that totally missed this when it came out. In fact, it was running one night on a cable station in the mid 80s when I first saw it. I was visiting my parents, and on it came. I had just stopped in to say hello, but after the first 10 minutes I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I'll never forget sitting next to my father, who was in his seventies at the time, hearing him cracking up. He had a great laugh, a deep, full laugh, and I'd never in my life heard such pure joy come out of my father, who was a serious and subdued man. It may sound strange, but I felt closer to my father after watching this movie with. Sharing such a joyful experience with him will always be a very cherished memory.
Do yourself a favor. Find someone you love. Doesn't need to be romantic love, just someone who really counts in your life. Watch this movie with them. If it doesn't become a special memory, email me and complain.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2003
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.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2002
Run straight out (NOT serpentine!) and get this movie! By far one of the funniest films ever made. The script has hilarious comedic elements which feature straight men who take themselves dead seriously saying and doing the most outrageous things. And, it is absolutly clean, so you can watch it with your kids AND your grandma. Plus, this movie manages to pull off have many different comedic elements--it is not purly slapstick (boring!) or pretentious highbrow schtick. Everyone will find something funny in this movie.
Who would have thought Falk and Arkin could be such perfect foils for each other? Falk is at his best here, very Columbo-ish, seeming totally scatterbrained but really knows whats going on. He plays a top CIA agent (who claims responsiblity for the Bay of Pigs). Arkin is a nerdy dentist who just wants a quiet life. What brings these two together is that their children are marrying. But that's the point where normalcy stops and looniness takes over. This movie is so jam-packed with funny lines you'll find yourself quoting it constantly.
Those of you who remember all of the dictators who featured so prominently in the 70s and early 80s will love the general.
Everything about this movie is great. If you like to laugh, you will find something funny here. Get it!
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This is a ridiculous, absurd, and amazingly funny movie. It is one of my favorites. All you have to say is, "Serpentine!" and anyone who has seen this movie will know exactly what you are talking about and likely crack up. I believe it is one of the most memorable scenes in all of movie history.
The scene in the diner with Shel's split pea soup is also one of the best ever. I don't know how much of that dialogue was written or improvised, but it is perfect. Arkin and Falk are so aligned in this movie that it is impossible to see anyone else in these roles. And who can forget the dinner at the bride's home and the conversation about Falk's experiences with large insects in the tropics?
I won't go through all my favorite scenes because that would be most of the movie. All I can tell you is to get the tape (or better the DVD coming out, I guess in May 2003) and enjoy it over and over again. This is a wonderful and memorable comedy that I treasure.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 1999
It would be a crime to give away almost anything about this movie, as each surprise is also an uproarious laugh fest. Let's just say that after a somewhat slow and amusing first 20 minutes, the movie takes off at a hilarious pace and never slows down again.
The synopsis is fairly simple: a respected dentist meets his daughter's future in-laws, immediately determines that the groom's father is crazy, and in a reluctant attempt to accept the situation, gets sucked into a rediculously funny web of international intrigue.
The performances are perfection. Alan Arkin as the bewildered dentist and Peter Falk as the possibly looney in-law are perfectly cast, as is the entire supporting cast of crazies.
This is the kind of movie that you gather a bunch of close friends to watch late at night, so that no one will be too inhibited to laugh out loud at it, which everyone will most certainly be doing.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2004
On our first date, my husband and I discovered that we both thought this was a hysterical movie. On our second date, we rented and watched it. One of my all-time favorite movies - I laugh every time I watch it, even though I can recite most of the dialogue! Arkin & Falk are both superb in the roles they play - I can't imagine anyone else in them, and agree with another reviewer that you shouldn't even bother with the remake - it absolutely does not do justice to the original!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2005
My parents introduced me to this movie, which came out before I was born. I'm so glad it was finally released on DVD so that we don't have to watch our VHS-off-television copy when we want to see this movie. It's a delightful comedic romp, and Arkin and Falk playing perfectly off one another. Some of the other characters are a little flat (the marrying son and daughter), but the action is hilarious for the two main characters. My favorite scenes take place when they travel out of the country illegally towards the end (I won't say more so I don't ruin the plot). Definitely check this movie out, and it is one you'll want to own on DVD to watch again and again.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2004
One of the best comedies ever! Anyone who even tries to give this movie 4 stars should be sent to work with Vince Ricardo for a week.
In the 1970s some movie makers still took the time to build an audience's interest in the characters and the film. In this case the action moves oh so slowly at the beginning as you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. And when the action does get going, it's one of the most originally scripted movies you will ever see. And one of the best car chase scenes you will ever see. If you haven't seen it, watch it!
If you have seen it:
"I don't know why they took away my drivers license Shel."
"Serpentine Shel, serpentine!"
"Flames! My car has flames!"
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This is, quite simply, one of the funniest movies ever made. For those used to Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo, watch him master the comic genre in his brilliant portrayal of Vince Ricardo, a CIA agent gone (apparently) insane. The straight-man counterpoint is Manhattan dentist, Sheldon Kornpett, played to utter perfection my Alan Arkin.
The plot is far too convoluted to even begin to recount, but the premise is that these two unlikely characters are about to become in-laws. In the days leading up to the wedding, more goes wrong than can possibly be imagined: there are dealings with a lunatic South American dictator, a chartered corporate jet flown by Falk and two Chinese gentlemen, and a dinner party capped off with the most ludicrous story about tsetse flies carrying off children in their beaks.
The pacing and direction from Arthur Hiller is first-rate, and the story is never slow from the first frame to the last. Although I love Falk as the loopy CIA man, I think the real genius in the film is Arkin, who makes an amazing foil. The subtlety of his performance (especially his masterful facial expressions) is a landmark in comedic cinema.
The DVD features several great extras, of which by far my favorite is the commentary track by Falk, Arkin, and Hiller.
This is pure comedy gold, and should have never been a candidate for a re-make, as it could not possibly be improved upon. I first saw "The In-Laws" in the theater, but I have watched it many times since, and it never gets old. I give this film my highest possible endorsement.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2004
Finally! This is available on DVD. I doubt there will be more than one pressing of this classic original since most people gravitate toward the new version for some inexplicable reason, so I'd snap this one up as soon as possible. I laughed my hind-end off years ago when I first saw this. It was an understated example of comedic timing and brilliant acting, and to my mind (though I haven't seen the remake, since I can't figure out why anybody would remake something that's already perfect, much like the new "Psycho") this is the only version worth owning. This is shown in widescreen format, thus preserving the entire picture you'd see in the theater, with nothing cropped off the sides to magnify the center part to fill the entire TV screen. For any widescreen 'newbies' out there, this is the only way to see a film. You don't know what you're missing until you compare a full-screen film to a widescreen version. With full-screen sure you get a bigger picture, but the sides are cut off in order to do it. There, I got that off my chest. Anyway, I was glad to see this release is in fact widescreen. There's also a commentary track featuring Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Director Anthony Hiller and Writer Andrew Bergman. This feature alone is worth the (very reasonable) cost of admission and provides tons of insight behind the scenes. Truly a must have for any collection!