Review of the movie “In Laws 2”.  Worse than the original, but still fun

Producing a really smart and funny comedy in Poland is not easy. The most difficult challenge seems to be to produce at least a successful sequel, which could take the story known to viewers to a higher level. The creators of “The In-Laws” coped with this first task without any major complaints, but in the second part, they got a little tangled in plot patterns and clearly weakened the edge of satire. Set in Tricity, Kalina Aladrukińska’s film is still entertaining and may provoke timid musings at times, but it’s still a step down from the great original. Not only Marcin Dorociński was missing out on full success.

Two years ago, the film “In-Laws” entered the film industry through the side door. Without intense promotion (compared to other Polish comedies), a lot of publicity and still in the pandemic reality. However, the intimate satire at a wedding captivated the audience with its brilliant humor and objectivity in its depiction of social classes. Thanks to the very effective direction of Jakub Michalczuk and the performance of a quartet of actors, this not-so-obvious tale about warring Poles acquired emotional depth and, above all, was genuinely entertaining, thus becoming one of the best domestic comedies of recent years.

However, the producers of “In-Laws” did not stop there and ambitiously decided to raise the bar even higher. In the second part, this time directed by Kalina Aladrokiska, we meet three of the four main characters, and the events of the film move from the wedding hall to Tricity Beach, and the theatrical form of the first part is replaced by a resort atmosphere. Straight from the series “Biyali Lotus”. In theory, the creators of the sequel have created comfortable conditions for the development of the threads that began two years ago. But in practice, there is no longer any freshness and, more importantly, no knack for playing up national stereotypes.

Janusz and Grażyna are on vacation, so the mood has dropped

The potential couples from the first part make another attempt to organize their wedding. This time, they invite their loved ones to an exclusive hotel on the Polish seaside, and against the backdrop of the picturesque Baltic Sea, they intend to finally say the sacred “yes”. Weronika and Łukasz, in order to make up for the failure of their first wedding and please their parents, give them a few days of accommodation in a luxury hotel Apartments With a package of attractions. After all, it is worth taking care of the mental and physical comfort of both families, which – to put it mildly – do not love each other.

Wanda responds to youth’s call (Isabella Cunha) and Thaddeus (Adam Woronovich) and Malgorzata (Maja Ostaszewska) who, after her divorce from André, invites Jan (Eric Kolm Jr.), much younger than her, to a family celebration. Just a few minutes into the session, the four arrived at the beach in Orovo, sipping colorful drinks and getting into more verbal battles. Of course, according to the plan of the creators of the comedy, which once again aims to ridicule our national shortcomings and ridicule the apparent class struggle.

The problem is that the level of humor suggested by the filmmakers is actually lower than what was presented in the first film. Michalchuk mocks the hypocrisy of smart and narrow-minded people horizons People from the provinces were frank, but at the same time not devoid of accuracy. In the second “In-Laws” film the emphasis was on heavy jokes, meaning that many of the on-screen gags had a somewhat clumsy and hollow tone. This is perhaps best seen in Chrapkas’ idea of ​​marriage. Their plot resembles a cabaret skit about Janusz and Grazyna on vacation who pack jars of cucumbers taken from home into the hotel refrigerator, and respond to the hotel’s dark-skinned, though Polish-speaking, staff with clumsy “sinkjo.”

Drunk uncle humor at a wedding? It’s a bit like that, but fortunately, these are fairly incidental gags, and even if they lack finesse and agility, their effectiveness is undeniable: they’re still funny. Adam Woronovich, a reliable comedic actor, plays the lead role of Thaddeus and brings laughter to the movie theater time and time again. However, the actor’s co-star, Isabella Cunha, will probably have the most scope to show off her skills here. This is all thanks to Wanda, who is experiencing a veritable sexual renaissance at the seaside, which embarrasses Tadzio even more.

The satire is less expressive, but still fair

Furthermore, the focus on male-female relationships in The In-Laws Part II appears to be greater than in the first film. Underneath the plethora of gratuitous gags and fun dialogues, there’s a real story about the passion and importance of a relationship Proximity with another person. Malgorzata, for example, is convinced of her strength and honesty, as she tries to rebuild her social status with her younger lover and her mental state after a painful divorce. The creators of “In-Laws 2” rarely allow themselves deep thought and imagination, but when they decide to do so (and there is one very balanced and subdued scene here), they prove that comedy – quite loose in its structure and language – does not have to be frivolous.

On the plus side, there is also justice on screen. Just as in the first part, the two environments depicted in the second part are equally striking, but there are also surprises in this regard. The xenophobic and narrow-minded Tadeusz turns out to be actually someone very open to new acquaintances, while Malgorzata, who rebukes his narrow-mindedness, treats an Asian maid with contempt in one scene. Kalina Aladrokiska abuses stereotypes in her film, but in the end she turns them into a counterpoint to the saying “what they see is what they write about you”.

Trials for the third part, but Dorociński must return

However, Marcin Dorociński does not appear on screen and this is unfortunately a notable loss, because in the first part Andrzej served as a kind of catalyst for the toxic relationships between the other three characters. With three expressive personalities, having that person who tries to calm conflicts and extinguish anger is invaluable. This is a bit missing in the sequel. Eric Colm Jr. does not fill this gap, although he is a colorful complement to the quartet of main characters. The script didn’t allow him to do much more, but was designed primarily to fit characters already known to the audience.

Is ‘The In-Laws’ really back on the big screen? Marek Modzelewski, again responsible for the screenplay, this time made his story significantly less profound, and Kalina Aladrowskiska lacked the idea of ​​​​playing the leads and characters with such vividness that Jakub Michalczuk did in the original. So we can talk about a drop in quality compared to the first film, but it is still a solid piece of cinematic entertainment and a chance to laugh without embarrassment. The end of the film suggests the third part of the adventures of wolves and kidnapping. And it might be for the best. Provided the first “in-laws” level of quality returns alongside Andrzej on screen.

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