US Release Date: 10-06-2000
Directed by: Jay Roach
- Robert De Niro, as
- Jack Byrnes
- Ben Stiller, as
- Greg Focker
- Teri Polo, as
- Pam Byrnes
- Blythe Danner, as
- Dina Byrnes
- Nicole DeHuff, as
- Deborah Byrnes
- Jon Abrahams, as
- Denny Byrnes
- Owen Wilson, as
- Kevin Rawley
- Thomas McCarthy as
- Dr. Bob Banks
Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents.
This fairly predictable yet engaging and quite funny romantic comedy pairs the always funny Ben Stiller with legendary actor Robert De Niro. Stiller is Greg Focker, and believe me this movie gets as much mileage out of his last name as possible, and De Niro is his future father-in-law Jack Byrnes. Greg's fiancée Debbie Byrnes invites him home to meet the parents for the occasion of her sister Pam's wedding. Of course absolutely everything that can go wrong does.
Greg's luggage is lost by the airline, Jack mistakenly thinks Greg is a pot smoking, sexual pervert, and Greg loses the cherished family cat, causes the septic tank to overflow and nearly burns down their house. The scenes between Stiller and De Niro are what make this movie work. They play off of each other perfectly and keep the silliness from becoming too much.
Blythe Danner is good as Jack's wife Dina, a kind hearted if slightly dizzy woman. The rest of the cast does a decent job as well. In fact, the acting makes up for the fact that most of the jokes can be seen a mile away. Ben Stiller deserves the credit for overcoming the familiarity of the script and his nice guy whose every good intention backfires horribly, is the center around which the others revolve. The swimming pool, volleyball game scene is a perfect example of this and got the biggest laugh of the movie.
Final word, Meet the Parents is a good, though not quite great romantic comedy with a winning cast.
Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents.
Meet The Parents is a funny film. The set up is a given sitcom situation. A balless guy, Ben Stiller, meets the parents of his girlfriend to ask her fathers permission to marry his daughter. Her father, Robert DeNiro, is a former CIA agent and a control freak. Their scenes together are very comically put together. Their characters are such opposites. They are uncomfortable with each other on any subject.
The problem I had with this movie was that their was never a moment where Ben Stiller's character ever tells off DeNiro's. He tries so hard to impress his future father in-law, who undermines him constantly. DeNiro's character never gets his comeuppance. Stiller's character ends the movie as spineless as he started it.
Still, a funny film, even though the characters are as single dimensional as they get.
Ben Stiller and Teri Polo in Meet the Parents.
Perhaps I enjoyed this movie more than my brothers because I could relate to it more than they could, having lived through situations similar to the ones in this movie. Obviously I never went through the extremes shown in this movie, but let's just say I've logged many uncomfortable hours with the in-laws.
Like my brothers, I too enjoyed the comic antics of Stiller and DeNiro, particularly the way they play off each other. Their scenes are the strongest in the film and luckily, that includes most of the scenes.
My one complaint with the movie is the predictability of the jokes. Whenever something bad can happen, it does. Show the urn with the ashes, you know it's going to get broken. Tell someone not to flush the toilet, you know it's going to get flushed. Still, despite the predictions, I still found myself laughing.
Now available on video, Meet the Parents, is a hilarious choice for the next time you're looking around the video store for a comedy.
Photos © Copyright Universal Studios (2000)