In & Out

1997, Movie, PG-13, 92 mins

Review

IN & OUT
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It's not about sex -- it's about Barbra and Bette and the Village People: That's the lesson of this cheerful, mainstream comedy about tabloid TV, Hollywood sophistry and family values that finally gets discussion about gay people out of the bedroom and into the record store, where it belongs. Popular small-town English teacher Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) is outed on TV by vacuous former pupil Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon), who's just received an Oscar for playing a highly decorated gay soldier run out of the military for having a tape of BEACHES in his locker. No one is more surprised than Howard himself, unless it's his former fat-girl fiancee Emily (Joan Cusack), who's just dieted herself into the world's most frou frou wedding dress. With the nuptials less than a week away, Howard is hounded by tabloid journalists -- "Should gays handle produce?" they bray, as he runs for cover -- and tormented by well-meaning gestures of support: Did his buddies have to arrange the bachelor party around Barbra Streisand movies? Forget the inevitable carping and give credit where credit is due: Any movie that gets a laugh out of Debbie Reynolds as the Midwestern mom who claims she needs a wedding because "it's like heroin," and features a long kiss between Kline and Tom Selleck (cast to absolute perfection as a gay tabloid-TV reporter) is OK. And the sequence in which Kline attempts to learn the secrets of manliness from a set of instructional tapes gruffly titled "Be a Man" ("Real men don't dance. Ever.") is a gem. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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