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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



Meet the Parents
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by EricDSnider

"Very nearly a perfect comedy."
5 stars

"Meet the Parents" would be nothing without Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. The script is funny, and the supporting cast does its job -- it supports, no more, no less -- but it's De Niro and Stiller who make it the unceasingly entertaining treat that it is.

Beginning with a song by the incomparable Randy Newman (has any film he's scored NOT been improved by his contributions?) that features the words, "Show me a man who's gentle and kind/And I'll show you a loser," "Meet the Parents" is a one-disaster-after-another kind of comedy, but it avoids going over the top or descending into gross-out humor. (Surprising, since it was directed by Jay Roach, who also helmed both "Austin Powers" films.)

Ben Stiller plays Greg, a male nurse who wants to marry the winsome Pam (Teri Polo). Before he can pop the question, though, he learns that her sister, Debbie (Nicole DeHuff), has just gotten engaged -- but only because her boyfriend, Bob (Tom McCarthy), asked her father's permission first.

Greg and Pam fly to New York state for the wedding, giving Greg what he hopes will be the perfect opportunity to ask Dad for his daughter's hand. Dad, however, is Robert De Niro.

That's the film's first great triumph, casting De Niro as Pam's father, Jack Byrnes. The film is well-aware that the audience associates De Niro with psychopaths and gangsters, and it lets that be a wonderful inside joke: Imagine walking up to your girlfriend's house to meet her father and finding out that it's Travis Bickle/Vito Corleone/Max Cady/Jake LaMotta. He doesn't even have to say anything; we already KNOW who this guy is.

The role is perfectly suited for De Niro, too, as it allows him to be what we expect him to be: a little crazy, and a little violent. But it's morphed into a domestic setting, where he's crazy about his precious little girl (and his pet cat, who causes no end of trouble), and where his violence is expressed verbally. There's no "You talkin' to me?" in his interrogations of Greg, but there might as well be. The sentiment is the same, and it's hilarious to watch it in a situation that we know will lead to comedy, not bloodshed.

Another great joke the film gives us is Greg's last name: Focker. There is much sublime pleasure in hearing De Niro say it in contexts like, "Are you a pothead, Focker?" and "Let's see some defense, Focker!" (There's also a wonderful line about what Pam's full name will be if they get married: Pamela Martha Focker. Say it out loud, and then picture De Niro saying it, the same way he's said it hundreds of times in other movies.)

Stiller is brilliant as the flustered-and-getting-worse Greg. He restrains himself enough to make it a slow boil, never erupting until near the end, when he takes it all out on a stewardess who deserves it. You can picture Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler going bug-eyed and freaking out when Greg accidentally sets the backyard on fire, and while it might be good for a quick laugh, it couldn't compare with Stiller's controlled, masterful performance.

About two-thirds of the way into the movie, things slow down a bit. It's when everything bad that could happen has happened, and Greg has to figure out how to still marry Pam. Fortunately, things pick up again quickly with the aforementioned airport sequence.

The sentiment is kept to a minimum -- just enough to make it genuinely sweet the way things fall into place. And who cares if Greg and Pam get together -- we're just glad to see Greg and Jack work things out.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3916&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/05/03 12:59:14
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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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