©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
Every right imaginable is reserved.


This week:
The In-laws

Filthy says:
"No matter how loud it is, it still smells like crap.

I really don't care if Hollywood remakes old movies. Well, not much. The only time it really bugs me is if I'm at the Blockbuster and I'm drunk (which is the only way to go to those shitboxes because then it can look like an accident when you piss on the rack of Goobers) and I'm meaning to get the classic The Maltese Falcom but wind up with some 2001 version starring Dolph Ludgren, Burt Reynolds and Crystal Bernard. Really, though, that's my fucking fault; I shouldn't get so drunk I can't read the small print, or I should move somewhere with better video rentals in staggering distance. Which reminds me, why the fuck does Blockbuster carry Red Shoes Diary shit but edit the boobs out of foreign films? Do they have a strong belief that only gratuitous sex is okay for kids? Or do is there some minimum silicone requirement? That Red Shoes shit is just a waste of time, it has the bad dialog of porn, the terrible acting, but it ain't sexy.

Some people get really mad about remakes. It gives the snobs something to bitch about, and an opportunity to profess their superiority because they only like the original. Well, if you like the first one, go watch it and spare me the pissing and moaning. I don't really give a shiny brass robot nut if Hollywood digs up the dusty bones of its past, slaps on some new threads and hauls them out to the megaplex. At this point, none of us should be surprised by the lack of originality in Hollywood. They will go to great depths to be as shallow as possible.

I think remakes should be judged on their own merits. And on its own merits, the new version of The In-laws is one unholy turd. Seriously, put a thousand Wiccans with loose bowels in the forest to live on nuts and berries and this is what you'd get. What a fucking miserable exercise in excess, shrieking and bellowing. The original The In-laws is a very funny movie and you can rent it right now, even at your local shitbox. But do not confuse it with this shrapnel-laden colon shredder.

The son of smarmy, absentee father Michael Douglas is marrying the daughter of neurotic, uptight podiatrist Albert Brooks. Right up until the week of the wedding, Douglas is hard to get a hold of. It's because he's a CIA agent trying to stop an arms smuggler. Of course, he can't tell anyone this. Douglas inadvertently involves Brooks in his adventures, and suddenly the whiny podiatrist is jetting to France, fighting arms smugglers and impersonating a hitman named "Fat Cobra."

You can imagine the trouble this would cause during a wedding weekend. Well, actually, you can't because the filmmakers have packed The In-laws with so much extraneous detail and unnecessary crap that it's impossible to imagine, let alone follow. It's a matter of nobody involved having faith in the material, so rather than do the hard work of making it better, they just make it more. It's like a blind boxer who goes out and just starts swinging, hoping something will connect.

Is there anyone in the world who see the words "Michael Douglas" and thinks, "Ooo, that's gonna be good!" I don't exactly know what unctuous means (and I'm not asking you to tell me, although I'm sure some unctuous asshole is eager to), but I suspect that Douglas is unctuous. He's creepy and leathery, like a really rich child molester with a tanning booth. And his name sure as hell doesn't mean quality movie. Albert Brooks has made some really good movies, but not for a long time. Now, he seems eager to be attached to anything with dollar signs. Even when he was at his best, he was neurotic but charming. Here the charm is gone, and he's just whiny. If I just wanted neurotic I'd go down to the library, make humping noises in the reference section and watch the librarians react. Actually, I might do that anyway. It's a slow day. In The In-laws, Brooks never redeems himself or becomes likable, but the movie acts like he does. It's funny how a little background music and an arbitrary action sequence can turn a guy from bad to good, even if nothing in his personality suggests it. Fucking lazy movie.

The In-laws wanted to be a slapstick comedy, and it might have worked as one. Instead, there are crass elements of slapstick, like Albert Brooks in a thong bikini. But then it takes its action sequences very seriously, trying to look like a real thriller with big explosions, high-speed chases and plot twists that I'm sure the makers thought were surprising. The action is stupid, low-grade and inconsistent. The plot twists are totally predictable because they are exactly what you'd expect a shitty movie to think we'd find surprising. What's that? Douglas's CIA sidekick, whom the movie takes great pains to emphasize the loyalty of, turns out to be a double agent! Who would've thought?

Most annoying, though, is the feeble attempt to inject some "poignancy" into the movie by making it about Douglas trying to be a good father. Who gives a fuck? It's a God damn comedy, and the last thing I want is some convoluted, pathetic touchy-feely horseshit about that unctuous prick trying to show affection. Oh, boo hoo, it's so hard being a father today, what with living a double life and all. All of that "absentee father" shit is just a cheap attempt to give us a reason to care about the people on screen because they have so little personality or charm.

All of the scenes are played at a hysterical pitch. Typical of Hollywood, they think if you scream loud enough, nobody will notice the jokes aren't funny. But how could we miss the unfunniness of a stereotypical gay Frenchmen making effeminate passes, or the sixtieth time Brooks expresses his neurotic displeasure, or the painful dog-for-dinner in the Chinese restaurant gag?

What a fucking dreadful, unfunny kick in the balls of a movie. I'd rather listen tot he screams outside the van of that guy who does vaginal piercings by the high school. One finger. Don't pay to see this substandard crap; rent the original and see what it was like when people trusted their material enough to let it breathe.

By the way, there's an interview with me at Pitchfork Media. Warning, it's pretty fucking long so only read it if somoene is paying you for your time.

Want to tell Filthy Something



Tony Toscano of Talking Pictures

Daddy Day Care is "The Perfect Family Film!"

The Italian Job is "An edge-of-your-seat caper film. Grabs you and never lets go."

Filthy's Reading
Erik Larson- The Devil in the White City

Listening to
Swami Records - Swami Sound System