The In-Laws

Bomb Rating: 

If you're a dumbass, do you take a chance on an original screenplay or do you play CYA and pull a script out of the vault that's already been done with some success so you can blame the inevitable failure on the director and actors?

I was going to write a funny introductory sentence about how I didn't understand the rationale dumbass Hollywood executives use when green-lighting projects like this one. Then I realized exactly why they green-light projects like this one: They're dumbasses. I mean, if you're a dumbass, do you take a chance on an original screenplay or do you play CYA and pull a script out of the vault that's already been done with some success so you can blame the inevitable failure on the director and actors?

It's the casting director who can be scapegoated for "The In-Laws," however. Michael Douglas is about as marketable as the SARS virus after the miserable failure of "It Runs in the Family." Hell, the studio could use this as its tagline: "If you didn't like Michael Douglas in 'It Runs in the Family,' you surely won't like him in this." Douglas plays CIA operative Steve Tobias, who's deep undercover and whose son, Mark (Ryan Reynolds), is about to marry Melissa (Lindsay Sloane). Melissa's father is Dr. Jerry Peyser (Albert Brooks). Inevitably, Jerry and Steve don't get along.

The only way Douglas could have been less convincing as a CIA operative was by wearing a dress, some Mickey Mouse ears and a boot in his ass -- and since this isn't his honeymoon, that's really not an option. Then again, with the various espionage failures around the globe and the internal security problems at the agency, perhaps the bumbling, comical CIA agent is the standard. I'm also not impressed with the casting of Ryan "Van Wilder" Reynolds, whose expression of consternation resembles somebody desperately in need of a piss.

Maybe one day Albert Brooks will play something other than a neurotic, but apparently his neuroses have yet to include "fear of being typecast for life." When the filmmakers realized that audiences had seen his tired schtick at least a thousand times, they came up with this gem: "But they haven't seen him in a thong."

The things that we have Hollywood to thank for will never cease.

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