Totally Daft Movie! ‘The In-Laws’

It's Over the Ocean to Scranton, Pennsylvania: An Appreciation of “The In- Laws” | TV/Streaming | Roger Ebert

Alan Arkin (left) is a suburban dentist, Peter Falk (right) is a CIA agent, and The In-Laws (1979) is one of the zaniest, wackiest, funniest movies that I’ve ever seen.

This was the movie we wound up watching yesterday, when we needed a break. As one who promotes Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, I can only stand in awe of Andrew Bergman’s out-to-lunch screenplay. In this film he has truly gone… where? But holy moly, is it funny! It goes from squirmingly tacky, to downright nightmarish, and from thence to Loopy-land–what a ride!

The plot? Oh, who cares! The dentist’s daughter is going to marry the spy’s son: this turns loose a mini-armageddon. Please don’t ask me to describe it. I can’t.

But if you like truly crackpot comedy, this flick’s for you.

11 comments on “Totally Daft Movie! ‘The In-Laws’

  1. Yes! This is my all-time favorite comedy movie! I must have seen it a dozen times, and I crack up every time. The scene at the first dinner with the prospective in-laws is a scream. So is the visit to the banana republic dictator … and the scene in the Manhattan diner where Alan Arkin yells at Peter Falk in front of the typically uninterested New York lunch eaters … but I mustn’t give away the details. Even thinking about some of it has me laughing. I think I may take this afternoon off and watch it again on DVD.

  2. I have never seen nor heard about this movie. I will have to look it up and watch it. Thanks for the info.

  3. This is a big favorite of mine, as well. Peter Falk was a treasure and he played this role to perfection. Alan Arkin has an ability to portray panic like no one else. On one level, he seems completely in control, while on another level, he’s completely out of control. The more I’ve seen of his work, the more I am in awe of his abilities.

  4. I did watch it afterward, and once again I laughed my head off. This time around, the car chases in particular got to me, especially the cab ride at the beginning, at which point I was positively screaming with laughter. I think one of the things that makes this movie so hilarious is the utter normality, even to the point of dullness, of the everyday talk that goes on alongside the bizarre action.

    1. Me too. And the dictator giving “Señor Pepe” a drink of water. And…. Oh, there are too many to list.

    2. I remember the first time I saw the movie. My then-husband and my mother and I went together, and we were clutching our stomachs laughing — even my mother, who very seldom laughed out loud at anything. At the scene with Senor Pepe and the drink of water, we were literally sliding out of our theater seats with laughter. But of course we’d already been weakened by the previous car chase on the highway. This is probably one of the funniest movies ever made.

    3. My favorite part was when they were at the airport in Tiara and being fired upon. Alan Arkin is running and Peter Falk is shouting “serpentine, serpentine”, so a Arkin runs back to the starting point and does it over again, the right way. Arkin just cracks me up every time I see him.

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