Funnyman Albert Brooks needs to take a chill pill. The 55-year-old — best known for writing, directing, and starring in Lost in America and Mother — was very skittish about acting in Warner Brothers's modern remake of The In-Laws (opening tomorrow). He feared fans of the 1979 comedy might resent a rehash of their favorite classic moments.

"I had great trepidation," Brooks admits. "I wasn't an In-Laws freak, but I knew a lot of people that were. The subject is big enough that you can remake the movie. It's called two people meeting that should never meet, but we're not going to go to South America [this time]."

"In the first script that I saw, there was even the 'serpentine joke' and the 'hand joke,'" Brooks grumbles. "I said, 'I'm not going to be in your movie because that I wouldn't do.' But [director Andrew Fleming] and [co-star] Michael [Douglas] and I worked hard to let that movie live in dignity and make this one."

Brooks admits he may well be as neurotic and paranoid as his In-Laws alter ego. He went so far as to research exactly how well-liked the original was, hoping it wasn't too popular. "I actually was concerned about this," he chuckles. "So, I went on the computer to the AFI Top 100 [Funniest Movies list], and it wasn't in there. I thought, 'At least it's not four.'"

Don't look for the comic to star in a string of "reimaginings," like Mark Wahlberg is wont to do. Brooks believes some old films should just be left alone. "You don't want to remake a Stanley Kubrick movie," he insists. "It's just not right. I'm just hoping that nobody does Lost in America with Keanu Reeves."