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Overall Rating
3.55

Awesome: 21.57%
Worth A Look39.71%
Average: 14.71%
Pretty Bad: 20.59%
Total Crap: 3.43%

15 reviews, 114 user ratings


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Meet the Parents
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by Greg Muskewitz

"The distorted humor actually begins to be painful."
3 stars

Don’t you hate it when you laugh at something on your initial reaction even though it maybe something that really was funny to you and others, but when you think back on it, you kind of feel sorry for the person it happened to? Well, that’s the gist I had with the slapsticky, gaggy, but still funny Meet the Parents. The situations were funny and easily risible, though somewhat ribald, but after a point it started to almost be a little depressing.

The ever-willing to be embarrassed in any way possible Ben Stiller plays Greg Focker (yes, that’s what it sounds like, and expect to hear it a lot!), a nice-guy nurse who’s in love with Pam (Teri Polo) a kindergarten teacher. He’s ready to propose, and even has the students in on it, but when Greg overhears a telephone conversation about how her dad wants to be notified first, he puts his plans on hold. After all, Pam’s sister is getting married in a few weeks, and she and Greg are going to visit them in New York for the weekend. It should provide the perfect opportunity for Greg to “pop the question” to her dad first.

Pam’s dad to Greg’s knowledge is a retired florist, but if you’ve seen the previews you should already know that it isn’t true. But for the time being, the cat isn’t out of the bag, but as Greg and Pam leave Chicago and arrive in NY, Greg’s suitcase is lost. It’s only the start for him of things to go wrong. Pam’s father, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) and mother Dina (Blythe Danner) are the animated soon-to-be in-laws you really don’t want to be tied to.

From the start, Jack isn’t very fond of Greg. Jack’s set back in his ways and wants it kept that way (“Make sure you keep that snake locked in its cage for 72 hours. It’s my way, or the Long Island Fairway.”). Dina putters around, slightly off her rocker, but is still a likable presence. No matter what angle you look at it from, Greg is cursed with bad luck, whether it be his “disliking” of cats, his unsturdy stories, or anything else he does, he cannot win Jack’s favor. Everything is always going wrong! It makes a turn for the worse (just when you thought it couldn’t get any more so) when the other daughter Debbie (Nicole DeHuff) and her fiancée come in for the rehearsals. Not to mention when the cat is let out of the bag (and out of the house) when Pam tells Greg her father was in the CIA for 35 years, explaining the polygraph tests Jack gave him. (“I was afraid of your father when he was a florist, and now I’ve gotta CIA tracker on my ass!”)

Stiller is a good actor; I’m usually pleased to see him pop up in some quirky roles and films. Yet he seems to have a penchant for taking roles where his characters are just decimated by humiliation. It makes a good source of laughs for sure, and it allows you to do it for the most part without feeling guilty. For example, there was There’s Something About Mary, Mystery Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, The Zero Effect and Flirting with Disaster just to name a few of the roles where he is utterly vanquished into Embarrassment Hell forever. Again, Meet the Parents is another excruciating role for Stiller –his poor role of Greg goes through so much stuff just to enable the audience to laugh. This time though, I did feel a bit guilty for laughing. The gags and situations, courtesy of a cruel, but well-tuned script by John Herzfeld and John Hamburg provide plenty of clever elements (“Oh no! I just remembered Pam’s Middle name”/ “What, Martha?”/ “Uh huh”/ “Oh!! Pam Martha Focker!”), but it almost goes overboard with Greg –we wish for more of a vindication for him at the end.

It was nice to see De Niro in a lighter, more relaxed role. His talents are unquestionable, so every once and awhile it’s good to see him kick off the boots and give comedy his treatment. And his method, of playing it straight with an unforced, deliberately cocky aura works to his advantage. Whether he’s playing it like that, or iconoclastically like in Analyze This, it works well. Danner, who’s still busily working, but without much notice (living in the shadow of her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow), is also amusing, but in a more limited, slightly annoying way. She lays it on a little too heavily on occasion making the character role a bit over-animated compared to the rest who don’t need it.

The majority of the rest of the cast are all pretty new. Polo has an attractive quality, but although she does well here, she blends in and vanishes afterwards. She doesn’t present anything unique or unusual other actors don’t have to offer. James Rebhorn (Snow Falling on Cedars) doesn’t fare so hot with the script, and Jon Abrahams (Scary Movie) has an under-developed role as the Byrnes’ son, Danny.

Jay Roach, the director behind the Austin Powers movies, and the hockey-sleeper movie last year, Mystery, Alaska knows how to take a concept and run with it. Roach picks good scripts to work with, and in the case of what he’s directed so far, they’re good comedies without anything above average in the thinking department. The Austin Powers movies worked more for Myers and his gags rather than the direction, but Roach still had a handle on it. Meet the Parents doesn’t go beyond goofy humor and gags, but it’s easy to follow along with and it is easy to laugh at. Whether you feel for him or not at the end, Greg Focker, poor Greg Focker, will at least have made you laugh.

Final Verdict: B.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3916&reviewer=172
originally posted: 10/11/00 16:02:17
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User Comments

12/11/10 Jeff Wilder Has some funny moments. But beats certain jokes into the ground. 3 stars
2/21/10 PAUL SHORTT AMUSING COMEDY WITH A GOOD CAST AND WELL TIMED GAGS 4 stars
10/08/09 Kay D. I really like this movie. I has some very funny moments. 4 stars
12/21/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 4 stars
10/12/08 Samantha Pruitt very funny, ben stiller is classic, love De Niro 4 stars
8/25/07 Quigley One of the most overrated comedies of all time. The cat stuff was funny, though. 3 stars
7/01/07 johnnyfog Not funny whatsoever! Gabage! 2 stars
1/28/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Fokking hilarious-DeNiro is in the form of his life! 5 stars
12/05/06 David Cohen If you saw the trailer, you saw the best parts of the film 2 stars
8/16/05 ES One incredibly funny scene- involving remains, wrapped in a crust of blah= watch if bored 3 stars
6/12/05 Gecko Fanfoot Ben Stiller's character is a poor bastard who never gets a break. Hysterical! 5 stars
6/02/05 Chris Highly discouraging for those with a girlfriend 3 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan Super funny! 4 stars
2/19/05 swamprat Good concept- but B 2 stars
2/13/05 John Bale Modest comedy what his some funny moments generally on the dark side 3 stars
12/03/04 Akio Don't really need to watch. Some peple need this sort of movie to laugh, I guess. 3 stars
10/17/04 Miles Morley "The cat doesn't even have thumbs, Focker!" 5 stars
9/10/04 cate dissapointing 2 stars
8/11/04 Jen crazy funny 5 stars
7/26/04 Katie This movie is AWESOME!! It is SO funny! 5 stars
7/26/04 DM Not funny, just mean 2 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz Very funny 4 stars
7/20/04 Northerly Pinkline is a loser 3 stars
7/13/04 Alfred Guy This movie is just funny! Stiller is great. 5 stars
5/14/04 John has its moments but never really takes off 3 stars
1/24/04 Elena This movie was garbage. Most predictable 'plot' EVER and characters sucked. Die Stiller die 1 stars
12/01/03 Bill Jiken 5 stars
10/01/03 estheticaura An interesting quest for an in-laws approval. 3 stars
8/12/03 Pinkline Jones Very good - De Niro can do anything. Excellent script 4 stars
8/02/03 Double G Awesome Movie, Stiller is funny as hell 5 stars
7/14/03 helloooooo this movie sucked 1 stars
7/06/03 Jack Sommersby Devoid of both laughs and interest. De Niro in a septic-tank joke. Alas! 1 stars
6/21/03 R.W. Welch Stiller and DeNiro just might be the next Laurel and Hardy. Good comedy of errors. 4 stars
6/21/03 John Aster Habig An awesome date film too bad I don't have a girlfriend 5 stars
5/16/03 Piz I still recite lines from this movie,a real winner, funny! 5 stars
2/28/03 y2mckay Some of Stiller's best work. Almost makes up for Zoolander. 4 stars
2/06/03 123 Funny ! this is what ben stiller's best role is, being a loser and harassed all the time 5 stars
2/02/03 Hi there Funny! 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Funny, but I wish DeNiro would get serious again 4 stars
10/06/02 melody probably one of the most hilarious movies I've ever seen! 5 stars
9/05/02 Justin Great Film! 5 stars
9/04/02 movie guy A GREAT FILM 5 stars
7/04/02 gary vidmar A hilarious movie that adults will relate to. Teens will not understand much of the humor. 5 stars
6/11/02 Renee Keener Flawed but on the whole watchable. Where cat goes to poo is hilarious! 4 stars
5/27/02 Nicole I don't get what is so funny about this movie 3 stars
5/27/02 Film Guy Stiller & Deniro are hillarious in this movie. A Great movie 4 stars
5/18/02 Dark Barøn Stiller is not funny, The Deniro character pushes to the extreme, witch is not funny also. 3 stars
5/17/02 Darlene Groetz The movie where Ben Stiller became a zombie of the tragic wands. 3 stars
4/28/02 Butterbean I was surprised by how dull this movie ended up being. 2 stars
4/24/02 Danielle Ophelia Unpretentious, surprisingly honest and very, very funny look at Murphy's Law. 4 stars
4/10/02 The Grinch ROFL! Gets better each time I see it. 5 stars
3/27/02 RJ Shafran Best movie ever i saw totaly funny!! humorous!!! 5 stars
3/19/02 Jim Funny, but you can't buy champagne from drug stores in New York State 4 stars
3/13/02 Renee Keener Flawed but at times uproarius comedy. Where cat goes to poop is side-splitting. 4 stars
3/07/02 Jack Hunter Just go right into the DVD, avoid all previews and trailer, and the pic is a lot of laughs, 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I couldn't stand it. One of worst films I have seen. 1 stars
12/09/01 Lena I am crazy about Robert De Niro,I have seen almost all films of him,my best is "Heat". 2 stars
12/09/01 Delphine Ramsay Couldn't stop laughing, Love DiNero , Kudo's 5 stars
11/05/01 MissyWalks Watch it every time it's on. Love it. 4 stars
10/23/01 Tony It sucks, predictable cheap laughs 2 stars
10/11/01 Mike Its funny in spots. Worth a look 3 stars
10/02/01 Andrew Carden Pretty Funny Movie. 4 stars
10/02/01 Phoenix Stiller and De Niro are hilarious. 4 stars
9/22/01 Focker H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S 5 stars
7/26/01 moviegoer Pretty Good... 4 stars
7/03/01 Phil M. Afficianado Very funny and well acted. You will (as Gizzy says) keep laughing for a while afterward. 5 stars
6/21/01 Tzila Seewald It's was scerwball laughing all time since he meets his girl's parents! 4 stars
6/12/01 Gizzy the volleyball scene is a classic...i'm still laughing just thinking about it 4 stars
6/07/01 Wave The jokes are predictable, BUT THE ACTINGS ARE JUST GREAT!!! 5 stars
6/04/01 Socutejd Not what its cracked up to be 3 stars
5/05/01 Dennis O'connor Fockin' funny as hell... Stiller is a pisser... 5 stars
4/01/01 ~*Co_Co*~ Fantastic. Pissed myself from beginning to end. De Niro does it again! 5 stars
3/23/01 Alyssa Tried to do a "Something about Mary". Too over the top. Too predictable. 2 stars
3/22/01 Wyatt Earp Boy. That sucked. 1 stars
3/09/01 Amanda Turkes Was an outrageously funny movie 5 stars
3/09/01 Aaron Correll It's one of those movies were you just look at ways life can bite you in the ass. 3 stars
3/09/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Oh God, I'm about to meet my British boyfriend's parents...HELP??? **laughs** 4 stars
2/17/01 Jake Not quite what I expected, but has its shining moments 4 stars
2/14/01 Richard Wright Excellent comedy, one of the best of the year. Loved Ben and Robert's performances. 5 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Gay Focker; this movie is a fockin' riot!! 5 stars
1/31/01 Monday Morning Way above average. Some classic comedy moments 4 stars
1/30/01 Matthew Bartley I thank God De Niro will never be my father in law 5 stars
1/27/01 Iggy I saw it twice - on purpose!!! 5 stars
1/20/01 viking funnier than Austin Powers 4 stars
1/15/01 Yoshi Loved it, Ben Stiller is so cute! De Niro was fantastic. Great Focker! 5 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 With Midnight Run, Analyse This and now this Robert Deniro can be a great comic actor 3 stars
1/08/01 FatDog Ben Stiller is great and DeNiro really delivers a great performance. Very entertaining. 4 stars
1/02/01 neil bartlett not bad at all.A step up on most romantic comedies 4 stars
12/31/00 kevin this movie made me laugh so much. Deniro was great, never see him in a funny role. A+ 5 stars
12/28/00 Tom oh yeah, it was good, but i'll agree with Edward, Tom Green would have been better 4 stars
12/03/00 Phil Milking a cat..........is funny. 5 stars
11/19/00 Tom Hit a chord with me. I couldn't stop laughing 5 stars
11/18/00 Edward A Leonard Some funny shit, DeNiro is awesome as usual, Stiller's part COULD have gone to Tom Green. 4 stars
11/11/00 The Bomb 69 pretty funny, the pace of the movie was off though 4 stars
11/09/00 Patti I was pissed for hours after I saw this stupid, overdone, self-conscious piece of shit. 1 stars
11/06/00 natasha I'm still laughing....... 5 stars
11/04/00 Rob total letdown. bad writing, bad jokes, bad acting, stupid story, unidentifiable characters 2 stars
10/31/00 That Guy Not bad, but disappointing. Stiller sucked. 2 stars
10/28/00 Troy Meet The Parents has to be the funniest movie of the year! DeNiro and Stiller are the best! 5 stars
10/28/00 extar-bags It may not be The In-Laws or Annie Hall, but its still pretty damn good. 4 stars
10/23/00 Blubberbot Enjoyed the Trailer more than the movie. 2 stars
10/22/00 YOUR Movie Expert Funny as Hell.....Funnier than Scary Movie. Volleyball game is funniest part 5 stars
10/19/00 liquid Pretty funny movie, makes you appreciate the inlaws a bit more! 4 stars
10/19/00 Ground Zero nice acting, some LOL (laugh out loud) moments, but still a damn good movie 4 stars
10/15/00 Greyjack Intellectual: No. Funny: Yes. Very Funny: No. 3 stars
10/12/00 bison intellectual: no. funny: yes. very funny: yes. 5 stars
10/12/00 Xalt Reviewer Muskewitz has it right. The ROFL moments were great, though. 4 stars
10/11/00 Paige Not even worth a rental. 1 stars
10/10/00 PJ It was pretty funny, DeNiro and Stiller make a good team. 3 stars
10/10/00 Trepak The cast is wonderful and totally realistic. They have the best chemistry 5 stars
10/09/00 Ground Zero not bad, a few good laughs 4 stars
10/01/00 merkin Could be called "Something About Mary 2" 4 stars
9/17/00 JB Saw this a few months back at a preview screening. Its not bad. Great acting. Not original. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Oct-2000 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2000 (M)


Directed by
  Jay Roach

Written by
  Jim Herzfeld

Cast
  Ben Stiller
  Teri Polo
  Robert DeNiro
  Blythe Danner
  James Rebhorn
  Owen Wilson



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