“In and Out”
Queer Fun For All
I love Kevin Kline. I loved him in “Sophie’s Choice” and in “A Fish Named Wanda”. I even liked him as Cole Porter but I adored him in “In and Out”. I thought “In and Out” to be an extremely good and funny film even though it lacked the bite of most gay-themed films. This was such a squeaky clean movie that even children can see it—but that is not a bad thing—in fact, it is rather a positive thing to thick that kids can watch us and not be infected. The comedy n “In and Out” as a broad range—from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the physical to the mental. Not all gay themed movies have a sinister intent or a hidden agenda and “In and Out” proves that beautifully. Here is a movie that was made for the sole purpose of entertaining and if this movie caused anyone to think then that was the byproduct of the excellent casting and acting.
Howard Brackett (Kline) is a high school teacher who is about to take the big step into marriage. His fiancée, Emily Montgomery (Joan Cusack) adores him but the town is more excited about the hometown boy being nominated for an Academy Award then they are about the upcoming wedding (in three days).
When one of his former students wins an Oscar in a film in which he plays a gay soldier, he thanks Howard in his acceptance speech and outs him as gay. What the film does is follow what happens after the speech.
This is not a great film by any means but it is entertainment. Maybe it wasn’t all that I wanted it to be but it is a good fun movie. Kline’s character is a composite of all those clichéd coming out stories that we get so much of.
Some movies are made to make us think, some to excite and some to lift our spirits. Here is a movie that only wants to make us laugh. As one of the first mainstream movies to deal with the issue of gayness, it was blessed to be so unique. It is a well intentioned, good natured, non-threatening and politically correct, albeit old fashioned look at gay men.
It takes anti-gay attitudes and made them the butt of jokes instead of the reasons for joking. Those who threatened the stereotypes were the mocked in the film and the insult took on a whole new aura.
The movie somewhat mirrored the Tom Hanks outing of his own high school teacher when Hanks won his second Oscar for “Philadelphia”. When Kline’s student wins the Oscar, his compliment to his teacher turns his hometown upside down. Kline plays his part of the non-gay, gay teacher to perfection and Tom Selleck as his soon-to be-lover turns in a surprise comedy performance.
I have read some really bad reviews of the film by people who said it did not go far enough or that it was hypocritical. I think that if you watch it for what it rally is—a light comedy—then you can’t do anything but enjoy it.