Picks and Pans Review: The in-Laws

updated 07/16/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/16/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The ingredients are familiar, but the collaboration of the stars, Alan Arkin and Peter Falk, has the strange, discordant charm of, say, a mixed grill. A demented secret agent (Falk) meets an uptight, law-abiding New York dentist (Arkin) just before their children's wedding. It takes three whacko chase scenes, but Falk lures Arkin away from his root-canal work to a banana republic to help unload a satchel of stolen Treasury engravings. Chaotic encounters with two Chinese pilots and a mad dictator (Richard Libertini) who talks baby talk to himself come later. The film is a showcase for the underappreciated comedic talents of Arkin, and Falk, even if he can't quite hang up his Columbo persona along with the raincoat, is likable. The film is ideal for resting the intellect. So what if Bergman worshipers will hate it? (PG)

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