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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


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Meet the Parents
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"De Niro and Stiller make a dynamic duo."
4 stars

Swimming into the deep end of his fifties now, Robert De Niro has become, for want of a better term, the ultimate actor. You want the ultimate monster, like Satan, Frankenstein, or Al Capone? See if you can get De Niro. You need the ultimate gangster, either scary ('GoodFellas') or funny ('Analyze This')? Try to get De Niro.

The actor's recent hunger to lighten up after decades of heavy-duty roles has been a boon for comedy directors, who now can actually get De Niro. It makes perfect sense, then, that in Meet the Parents, De Niro should embody the ultimate funny/scary father-in-law.

Meet the Parents, directed speedily enough by Jay Roach (the Austin Powers films), owes about 55 percent of its charm to De Niro, who can be hilarious just sitting there -- glaring at some poor sap over his spectacles, his mouth drawn down into that unique De Niro scowl that suggests he's just drunk sour milk and blames you for it. The other 45 percent belongs to Ben Stiller, as the poor sap in question -- the unfortunately named Greg Focker, madly in love with schoolteacher Pam (Teri Polo) and eager to pop the question. Problem is, Greg hasn't yet met Pam's parents -- her gentle mom Dina (Blythe Danner) and much less gentle dad Jack (De Niro).

Jack, an anal-retentive family man ("I'll meet you out front in 12 to 15 minutes") who's more than meets the eye, sizes up poor Greg in a heartbeat when the young couple arrive at the parents' well-groomed New York home for a weekend. Greg, who's a male nurse and plans to stay one despite the universal shit he takes for it, has everything going against him, particularly his insecurity. No matter how hard he tries to impress Jack, it either isn't enough or it's the polar opposite of what Jack looks for in a son-in-law.

In the fine Murphy's Law tradition of comic inevitability (whatever can go wrong will, and Greg will make things go wrong spectacularly), Greg manages to track mud all over what little credibility he has. Stepping lightly over the jokes: Greg's suitcase gets lost, and an Austin Powers-style raunchy gag comes of that; Greg takes a lie-detector test and fails with flying colors; and anytime something is established as precious to the hard-boiled but sentimental Jack, whether his mother's ashes or his beloved cat Jinx, rest assured Greg will find a way to befoul it. One would think that after the first couple of disasters, Greg would be frightened into immobility, but that wouldn't be much of a comedy.

Meet the Parents may well play as a horror movie for guys who, like Greg, haven't yet encountered their potential father-in-law. As in There's Something About Mary, Ben Stiller is an Everyschmuck -- a regular guy who gets deeper into chaos the harder he tries to just get along. Stiller brings his edgy, repressed hostility (which gets unrepressed in two beautifully rhythmed rants near the end) to the game, parrying nervously but smoothly with the rock-like De Niro, whose every syllable directed at Greg drips with poorly-hidden contempt. The fun is when the two antagonists try to maintain cordial masks, so the actors get to footnote every pleasant exchange with psychological sword-clanging worthy of Kurosawa.

The movie is very broad and sitcom-esque. For the kids, there's a sewage-as-lawn-sprinkler gag, as well as a Rube Goldberg mishap that begins on a roof and ends with a lovingly carved altar destroyed. (The altar comes courtesy of Pam's ex-fiancee, a millionaire stock whiz and carpentry hobbyist played by Owen Wilson with such easy good cheer that I was disappointed not to see more of him.) The film is predictable down to its bones, but Jay Roach has talked about that comic-inevitability thing in interviews -- the mishap you see coming a mile away, and settle back happily waiting for it to go down.

'Meet the Parents' gives you exactly what you expect from a comedy with Ben Stiller as a petrified suitor and Robert De Niro as his petrifying nemesis; that's nothing to sneeze at -- or to spray sewage at.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3916&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/15/07 15:52:34
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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!
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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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