Dunston Checks In is a first-class, stylish farce with a brisk pace and cool wit.
Robert Grant (Jason Alexander) manages the upscale Majestic Hotel in LA. A widower, he’s raising his two boys (young Eric Lloyd, teenager Graham Sack), who look upon the venerable hostelry as their private playground. They’ve been warned to cool the hijinx with the impending visit of the capricious, slightly ruthless owner Mrs Dubrow (Faye Dunaway).
The iron mistress informs Grant that an agent of the prestigious Le Monde guide is expected. He’ll be traveling incognito, but the Majestic stands to be the first US hotel to earn a six-star rating.
A new guest, Lord Rutledge (Rupert Everett), is mistaken for the discreet inspector when he’s spied inspecting the edifice’s nooks and crannies. Actually, he’s scouting the terrain for security breaches that will allow him to practice his real vocation – thievery. He’s abetted by a dexterous simian named Dunston (Sam), who’s adept at second-story work.
Director Ken Kwapis displays a deft touch, balancing realistic elements and outsize characterizations. Pic’s unflagging pace and the unexpectedly witty script (from a screen story by coscripter John Hopkins) complement the simplicity of this construct.