Technically, The In-Laws is a remake. However, although the 2003 version uses an identical premise and some of the same situations and character types as the original, this movie ventures into different territory, allowing the film to achieve an identity of its own apart from the "remake" label. The 1979 edition of The In-Laws is often regarded as an overlooked comedy classic, but, to be frank, it has not aged all that well. More then two decades after its release, it's still a funny film, but a lot of the comedy has gone flat. A remake, done right, was not a bad idea. And, fortunately in this case, it has been accomplished with some flair. The result is a lightweight source of entertainment that maximizes humor and minimizes serious stuff.
The primary reason why The In-Laws works is Albert Brooks. In considering whom to use in the straight man role occupied by the irreplaceable Alan Arkin in the original, the filmmakers faced a difficult task. Few can do deadpan better than Brooks, so he was a natural choice. Brooks rewards the filmmaker with the perfect delivery of every line of dialogue his character is given. There's no funnier moment in the film than when he plaintively pleads, "Don't rape me!"
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