Meet the Parents

When Jack met Greg. A tough ex-CIA agent (DeNiro) meets his daughter's new boyfriend (Stiller)...

dir Jay Roach
scr Jim Herzfeld, John Hamburg
with Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Owen Wilson, Phyllis George, James Rebhorn, Nicole Dehuff, Jon Abrahams, Tom McCarthy, Kali Rocha, Bernie Sheredy
Universal-DreamWorks 00/US 3 out of 5 stars
See also: MEET THE FOCKERS (2004)

Review by Rich Cline
A one-joke comedy that never seems to run out of chances to make its characters squirm, Meet the Parents is one of those cruel-yet-very-funny crowd pleasers.

The high concept is simple: Nice guy Greg (Stiller) meets terrifying prospective father-in-law (DeNiro). And virtually everything imaginable goes wrong, straining his relationship with his girlfriend Pam (Polo) in the process. We even get the perpetually happy mother (Danner), the far-too-nice ex boyfriend (Wilson), the wedding preparations for Pam's sister (Dehuff), the sneaky little brother (Abrahams) and more. Much more.

It's pretty nonstop as poor Greg faces an outrageous string of escalating embarrassment, which Stiller endures with the same charming awkwardness he demonstrated in There's Something About Mary. And DeNiro once again flexes his talented comic muscle as the ex-CIA agent up to something nefarious ... while enjoying the fact that he makes those around him squirm.

Roach (Austin Powers) directs it with an eye for slapstick. And the result is quite good fun, even if it is far too much to take the story even remotely at face value. Perhaps if it were a tiny bit less cartoonish we'd warm to the characters a bit. As is, it's a series of wildly funny sketch scenes that remind us of every graceless situation we've ever been in. Hilarious to a point, but a little too painful after a while.

[12--themes, innuendo, language] 20.Oct.00
US release 6.Oct.00; UK release 15.Dec.00

Meet the Parents

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"Crude and predictable and not too funny." --Barbara B, California.

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© 2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall