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In & Out (1997)
Rated PG13

Starring: Kevin Kline, Tom Selleck, and Joan Cusack

Rating:
****
out of
*****

Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) is a mild-mannered, somewhat squarish teacher in the small town of Greenleaf, Indiana. He's engaged to his girlfriend of three years, Emily (Joan Cusack), and is also the high school's track coach. He's happy and everything in his life seems perfect.

Greenleaf was the home of Hollywood star Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon), who has been nominated for Best Actor for his role as a gay soldier. As the town gathers around the TV set to watch Cameron make his acceptance speech, they're shocked when Drake announces that his former teacher, Howard Brackett, is gay.

Howard's life is thrown into turmoil. His fiancé, his friends, his neighbors, and his parents all want to know if it's true. They start to analyze his love for Barbara Striesand, his gestures, and his penchant for neatness. As if that's not enough, the news media descends on the town and a reporter (Tom Selleck) forces Howard to examine himself.

In & Out is surprisingly intelligent and quite funny. The script, by Paul Rudnick, skewers Hollywood and the media, as well the close-minded public's view of homosexuality.

Kline delivers a wonderful performance and Selleck is very good as Peter Malloy, the reporter looking to one-up Barbara Walters. Joan Cusack, who was so good in Grosse Pointe Blank, is also excellent here as the fiancé.

The only problem with the movie is the contrived, anti-climactic ending. The movie builds up nicely, only to unravel at the end. Still, it manages to be a very funny movie that makes you re-examine your own views about what makes a person who they are. Is it what they do, or how they act?

Trivia: The following goof was found in the movie: The Oscars are awarded in the first few months of the year, yet corn is shown growing unseasonably high and students are shown graduating. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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