Live and let blah

The In-Laws Starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks. Directed by Andrew Fleming. Rated PG13.
Rated 2.0 The makers of The In-Laws commit their biggest misstep right out of the gate: remaking an already pretty good movie.

Starring Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas, the comedy gets fuel from this kernel: What would happen if you (or Brooks, let’s say) discovered your daughter was marrying the son of the CIA’s wildest rogue agent (played by Douglas). And what would happen if, while getting to know the in-laws, you (or mild-mannered foot-doctor Brooks) got caught up in the most dangerous mission of said agent.

Unfortunately, in the case of The In-Laws those “what-ifs” are answered thusly: not much of interest.

It’s a little curious why the producers would choose to update a much-loved comedy, the 1979 original that starred Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. That calculating “creative” philosophy ("Hey, it worked once already") leads to celluloid larceny on a grand scale.

Early on Douglas’ super spy runs through a car chase to the strains of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die.” The song was originally written for the James Bond film of the same name. Hearing it here is like witnessing the filmmakers break into rival studios and cart away wholesale previously used action scenes and pale comedy bits.

Watching Douglas and Brooks, talented as they are, shout through the motions is like seeing two racecars chained to each other and revving in opposite directions, in mud, getting no traction and, worse, very few laughs.