More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.55

Awesome: 21.46%
Worth A Look39.51%
Average: 14.63%
Pretty Bad: 20.98%
Total Crap: 3.41%

15 reviews, 115 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Hobbit, The: The Battle of the Five Armies by Peter Sobczynski

Strong Man, The by Jay Seaver

Top Five by Jay Seaver

Zero Motivation by Jay Seaver

Exodus: Gods and Kings by Peter Sobczynski

Imitation Game, The by Peter Sobczynski

It Follows by Jay Seaver

Sea Fog (Haemoo) by Jay Seaver

Men, Women & Children by Daniel Kelly

Best of Me, The by Jaycie

subscribe to this feed


Meet the Parents
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Andrew Howe

"Safety in numbness"
2 stars

“Safe entertainment” is a term which is not normally used in a complimentary context, but the fact remains that such efforts have their place. When you’re selecting a video for guests of uncertain tastes (or worse, your grandmother), you don’t want to front up with Se7en or Life of Brian. You need something which won’t offend anyone, and will provide sufficient entertainment that nobody’s going to question your judgement in the car on the way home (whether they would have preferred to watch Blue Velvet is another matter, but in any event such people should be approached with extreme caution, especially if they show up with a Roy Orbison CD in tow).

Meet the Parents is a comedy designed to please everyone, and to its credit there are few who won’t find something of interest within. Unfortunately, this approach invariably ensures that nobody walks away entirely satisfied, since the middle of the road is rarely as exciting as the detritus-choked edges.

The set-up is simplicity itself – earnest, likeable Greg (Ben Stiller) is intent on proposing to his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo), but the realisation that she expects him to ask her father’s permission throws a king-sized spanner in the works. Being a man who aims to please, he agrees to attend her sister’s wedding, with the idea being that he’ll butter-up the old man prior to requesting his blessing. Unfortunately, said father turns out to be Robert DeNiro, and you don’t need to be a student of his work to know that he can be one scary SOB when he sets his mind to it. This sets the stage for a light-hearted romp as Greg stumbles from one disaster to another, every misstep and faux pas driving another nail into the coffin of his dreams of marital bliss.

As you might expect, the film is almost worth catching simply to revel in another fine DeNiro performance. He eats roles like this for breakfast, and his intense portrayal is enough to have anyone who has ever been forced to pander to such a man cringing in recognition. Stiller, on the other hand, is hamstrung by a rather spineless character – he excels at playing angry young men (his performance in Mystery Men was one of the highlights of that film), and low-key roles are a waste of his natural talents. It’s no coincidence that one of the only times he is permitted to show a little backbone (being a brief altercation with a snotty stewardess) is one of the highlights of the film, leaving us to question whether the script should have been tailored to his strengths.

Everyone else is almost irrelevant, since the friction between DeNiro and Stiller occupies the lion’s share of the available screen time, but nobody disgraces themselves, and Polo in particular makes the most of a rather thankless second-string role. Special mention must also go to Owen Wilson, who downs his writing implements (he co-wrote Rushmore, for which he has my unqualified admiration) to assay the role of Pam’s ex-boyfriend, resulting in a memorable portrait of a sensitive young man who leaves you unsure whether you’d want to strike up a friendship or punch him in the face.

The humour is central to the success of a film such as this, and it’s a decidedly hit-or-miss affair. The script is automatically ahead of the game by choosing a theme which will be familiar to anyone who has ever realised that, to paraphrase Springsteen, every relationship is a package deal, and there are moments which will ring true with a sizeable percentage of the audience (I found myself squirming at the memory of a debate I once had regarding the notion of asking a father’s permission to marry, which I consider to be an outdated and irrelevant tradition. Try that argument on the wrong person and see what happens to you.) It is here that the film truly hits the mark, gloriously recreating the stilted conversations and misguided attempts to impress that are the hallmark of such unenviable situations.

Unfortunately, the sight-gags and verbal repartee hinge upon uninspired, lowest-common-denominator hijinks, including such gut-busting episodes as a running joke on Greg’s last name (“Focker”), a cat that uses a toilet instead of a sandbox, and copious servings of garden-variety mix-up’s and misunderstandings. Sure, there are moments which will raise a chuckle (an unduly-competitive volleyball game is a highlight), but the film lacks the inventiveness, wit and serious undertones which raised efforts like Dogma and Still Crazy above the everyday. That being said, if films like The Birdcage and Analyse This tickled your fancy you’ll probably be rolling in the aisles, so my comments should be considered in the light of your personal tastes in levity.

In any event, Meet the Parents is light entertainment, so perhaps I complain too loudly. As I said earlier, the film’s greatest strength is its across-the-board appeal, and it’s a reasonably pleasant (albeit mindless) way to while away a couple of hours. I just can’t find it in my heart to rate it too highly, because there’s been a number of fine comedies released in the last twelve months that show the film’s creators how it should be done, and while “safe entertainment” is not necessarily a disparaging remark, in this instance it’s exactly that.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3916&reviewer=193
originally posted: 01/05/01 14:29:11
[printer] printer-friendly format  
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

12/11/10 Jeff Wilder Has some funny moments. But beats certain jokes into the ground. 3 stars
4/05/10 Tyler Sciortino Lazy, bland comedy. 2 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!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

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



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2014, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast