a film by Frank Oz
1997 | 87 mins | US
›› In & Out
a zero sexuality comedy for a mainstream audience.
In & Out by Frank Oz For some, this work marks one of the best gay themed films that Hollywood has produced for years. A raucous screwball comedy that is pure entertainment and one that ended up as cinematic gold. Yet what do we really have here? For this feature as penned by Paul Rudnick of Jeffrey fame and inspired by way of the PHILADELPHIA Academy® Award acceptance speech of Tom Hanks, does it has to be said have some genuine hilarious moments, thanks largely to the spirited performances from Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Tom Selleck and Matt Dillon, coupled with a fine supporting cast of star players who give the material their all.

And yet no amount of joviality can disguise the fact that what this film proved above all else, was that homosexual themed works can be BIG box-office, but only if the acts associated with such are kept to the least degree possible - and here think zero visualisation. In short, this is gay Jim, but not as us boys know it.

What it also depicted was the story of small town English teacher Howard Brackett / Kline, who a few days before his wedding is outed to the nation thanks to an Academy® Award acceptance speech from former student Cameron Drake / Dillon. And therein lies the problem, for Howard wasn't even aware that he was in! After all he's just your regular guy. True he has some effeminate mannerisms and yes he's knows the entire Barbra Streisand repertoire, but surely that doesn't mean he's gay - or does it? As the media descend on Greenleaf, Indiana, Howard maintains his heterosexuality to one and all and inparticular to his parents Berniece and Frank aka Debbie Reynolds and Wilford Brimley and to fiancée Emily / Cusack. That is until out and proud television reporter Peter Malloy / Selleck forces Howard to confront his sexuality and to decide whether he's in or out, before events rapidly spiral out of control.

And there you have it. One corker of a comedy or is it? For many viewed this work as a downright insult to the advancement of gay rights, in having catered to and as All Over the Guy writer and star Dan Bucatinsky so well put it "every clichéd homophobic stereotypical idea of what it means to be gay." As for the reaction by Hollywood to any such criticism raised, well they countered that the film spoke of "gay tolerance" and "acceptance." Whatever way, they ended up smiling all the way to the bank. For here we have a film in which the homosexuality in question, whilst central to the plot, has been watered down to the point of projecting zero sexuality. Then again, this feature was made not for a gay audience, but for a mainstream one. And there endeth the lesson.
available on DVD as part of the Paramount Home Entertainment UK catalogue
starring: Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Tom Selleck, Matt Dillon, Debbie Reynolds, Wilford Brimley, Bob Newhart, Deborah Rush,
Lewis J Stadlen, Gregory Jbara, Shalom Harlow, J Smith-Cameron, Kate McGregor-Stewart, Shawn Hatosy,
Zak Orth, Lauren Ambrose, Alexandra Holden
cameo appearances by Jay Leno, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg
Copyright 2004 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #034
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