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In & Out/B,A-

Paramount/1997/92m/ANA 1.85

      Frank Oz delivers a fast-paced, energetic comedy about a high school teacher "outed" as gay by a former student. The great catch is that the student is a movie idol and he acknowledges his thanks to the teacher on national television at the Academy Awards. Fortunately, everyone in the small Indiana town is sitting down.
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Kline and Selleck at the wrap.©Paramount

     Kevin Kline is likeable in the role of teacher Howard Brackett. Joan Cusack got the big praise for her role as Emily Montgomery, left startled and standing at the alter when Howard comes clean. She is wild and ungirdled in a broad performance. But the best performance in this film is by Tom Selleck. Selleck plays Peter Malloy, Hollywood reporter and gay man. Selleck thoroughly enjoys making Malloy broadly entertaining. At the same time Selleck finds honesty in the character that adds a refreshing level to In & Out. Supporting actors include Debbie Reynolds and Wilfred Brimley as the parents left standing with the caterer. Matt Dillon is genuinely funny as Cameron Drake, the terrible actor who sets everything in motion.
      Oz knows his way around comedy. Think of the wonderful insanity of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Little Shop of Horrors. It takes a special kind of director to fine tune comedy and I think Oz makes the most of the material of In & Out. It’s been awhile since Oz got to make audiences laugh this much.
     The finale of In & Out is reminiscent of Spartacus and Dead Poets Society. It is consistent with the good nature of the film and the final credit sequence is a real celebration.
     This anamorphic transfer from Paramount is bright and sassy, a perfect palette for an upbeat movie. Colors are fully saturated yet perfectly controlled. Grain is handled especially well maintaining a consistently fine concentration in an excellent replication of film grain. It’s not at all intrusive in the few places that it exists. The image has a good sharpness balance, clear without causing undue artifacts. The score is very enjoyable though not very aggressive in the surrounds. Just about the most delightful sequence is the closing credits. Very macho.