"In and Out" Review
© 1997 Fontaine L.
- spoilers -

"How do you define normal?" -- Fox Mulder

How do you define normal? If you set off trying to find some kind of profound message in this movie about a man discovering his sexuality: well, let's just say, don't do that. And I trust not many people will. The movie was sold as a comedy--and though it turned out to be more on the "warm and fuzzy" side, it remains, nevertheless, a comedy.

Let me first say off hand that I know close to zip about homosexuals. I'm not against them, but I've never really known anyone who was a homosexual. So forgive me if I say anything offensive here.

So, as I said, Kevin Kline is Howard Brackett, a small town school teacher who's life is turned inside out (pun intended) when a formal student (namely Matt Dillon's Cameron Drake) announces to the world that Howard's "gay." At first Howard, his family, his neurotic wife-to-be Emily (Joan Cusack), his students, and the rest of the townfolk are just dumbfounded. Howard himself cannot believe it, and he steadfastly denies it. But as the movie wears on, Howard discovers that he in fact, is gay. To me the events that lead to this decision are not convincing--he's confused, how could he make such a decision at such a time? But no matter, the movie has some pretty hilarious highlights--the infamous gay kiss, Howard's attempt to "have sex" with his fiance, etc. The performances are gems--Debbie Reynolds stands out as Howard's "loving" mother, Joan Cusack is slightly overacting but that just makes the movie even more of a romp--not to mention Kevin Kline!

As you might have guessed already, this movie is not one that inspired a lot of thought from me, or else I would have written much more. The truth is I don't know what to write. To force myself to write down something of significance is saying that the movie actually achieves something, which it doesn't. It's a comedy with a few surprising twists; a comedy that retains attention till the very end; a comedy that while not Jim Carrey funny, is subtly humorous. In the end we are tempted to jump into the screen and dance to the tune of "Macho Man," simply because we're all happy.

Who cares if you're gay or not?

Rating: B (First viewing, 10/4/97)