Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.55

Awesome: 21.57%
Worth A Look39.71%
Just Average: 14.71%
Pretty Crappy: 20.59%
Sucks: 3.43%

15 reviews, 114 user ratings


Latest Reviews

I, Tonya by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

Lucky (2017) by Rob Gonsalves

Breadwinner, The by Jay Seaver

Endless, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Meet the Parents
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Worthy of Classic Screwball Comedy Status"
4 stars

So many things could have gone wrong with this movie. Based on a 72-minute 1992 film from right here in Chicago, that went on to major cult status via video copies passed around throughout the country, Meet the Parents could have been nicely packaged and sold to the public as a high-concept comedy that was nothing more than another Hollywood lemon. There are jokes about names, pets, injuries, sewage of the number two variety, lack of sex, and inane airplane rules. On the simplest level, this could be amateur stand-up material at best. But the rarest of rares have occurred for Meet the Parents not only improves on the original film, but also becomes the funniest film of the year.

Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is on the verge of a proposal. The stage is all ready for an elaborate (and cute) method of asking his girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo) to marry him. But things don’t go quite as planned and Greg is then faced with the prospect of getting her father’s approval before walking down the big plank. So on the weekend of her sister’s wedding, Greg & Pam venture from Chicago to New York to meet the parents. “Mom” (Blythe Danner) is an almost too pleasant, optimistic homemaker while “Dad” (Robert DeNiro) puts up the front of a florist while all the time slyly looking for ways to cut Greg down and strip away his dignity.

Great comedies like this are very hard to review, at least for me, because while I make a conscience effort in every review not to give away key plot twists or moments, it’s near impossible to find something that I didn’t laugh hysterically at in Meet the Parents. Along with the polygraph test and grandiose house burning moments we’ve seen in the trailers, so many little jokes slip in-between like the toilet behavior of the family pet, the discussion (and praying) of song lyrics and amateur poetry, and the unlucky union of Pam’s middle name with his impending married name that aren’t staring you right in the face and hit your funny bone with the urgency of a bullet train. There are great comic sequences from their first dinner together to the competitive swimming pool volleyball game to Greg’s final meltdown at the airport, and handled with some skilled timing by the filmmakers and particularly the actors.

Robert DeNiro could easily have overplayed “Dad”, turning him into an over-the-top portrait of an overbearing father. But DeNiro finds every right note, maintaining “Dad” as a man who loves and protects his family, and while hard-edged, doesn’t really become a handful until Greg inadvertently begins to ruin their home and the weekend. He proves once again that a true actor can do it all. Drama, tragedy, comedy, whatever. With an untapped comic flair in the Scorsese pictures, DeNiro really came into his own with 1988’s Midnight Run and continuing that string with more recent outings like Wag the Dog & Analyze This, he is one actor that truly can do it all. And if Ben Stiller hasn’t proven to be one of the world’s best comic actors out there with this performance, than his critics aren’t paying much attention. Just observe the way he stares down the swimsuit he has been offered in a key scene. It’s the perfect face of a man finally bogged down in anxiety from flacidness and down to his last piece of nicotine gum. Both of these performances are worthy of Oscar consideration come February.

A lot of credit also has to be paid to director Jay Roach and screenwriters Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg. They wisely keep the comedic tension on a steady incline without sending it into too dark a territory where the material could have lost its laughs and become merely uncomfortable. They also take easy and obvious jabs and are able to throw a fresh spin onto them and then stretch them out to get five running punchlines out of a single joke.

The 1992 film was presented in flashback format as a gas station attendant recants the tale of a doomed groom’s first meeting with his future in-laws. Everything that could possibly go wrong does and the jokes had a great dark tone to it. But after you catch up to that tone in the first few gags, the laughs became pretty telegraphed. And while they still produced big laughs, just for the audacity to get pulled off and the perfect comic tone acted by co-writer and director, Greg Gilenna, you saw every one of them coming. There wasn’t an immediate built-in uncomfortableness as there is when you have DeNiro staring you down and Stiller is so good that you can virtually see the blood rushing to his head like an angered cartoon character as he tries, desperately, to keep his cool.

The new film could have been just another chapter in the Murphy’s Law comedies, struggling along to pull off obvious laughs and recycled jokes no better than a single episode of Saved By the Bell or Hang Time. But Meet the Parents bucks the trend, creating a near-perfect Hollywood comedy, worthy of the classic screwball status of old Billy Wilder, Frank Capra and Preston Sturges and easily the funniest film of the year.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3916&reviewer=198
originally posted: 10/06/00 14:30:43
[printer] printer-friendly format  
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

12/10/10 Jeff Wilder Has some funny moments. But beats certain jokes into the ground. 3 stars
2/20/10 PAUL SHORTT AMUSING COMEDY WITH A GOOD CAST AND WELL TIMED GAGS 4 stars
10/07/09 Kay D. I really like this movie. I has some very funny moments. 4 stars
12/20/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 4 stars
10/12/08 Samantha Pruitt very funny, ben stiller is classic, love De Niro 4 stars
8/24/07 Quigley One of the most overrated comedies of all time. The cat stuff was funny, though. 3 stars
6/30/07 johnnyfog Not funny whatsoever! Gabage! 2 stars
1/27/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Fokking hilarious-DeNiro is in the form of his life! 5 stars
12/04/06 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
6/11/05 Gecko Fanfoot Ben Stiller's character is a poor bastard who never gets a break. Hysterical! 5 stars
6/01/05 Chris Highly discouraging for those with a girlfriend 3 stars
5/12/05 Jennifer Regan Super funny! 4 stars
2/18/05 swamprat Good concept- but B 2 stars
2/12/05 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
9/09/04 cate dissapointing 2 stars
8/11/04 Jen crazy funny 5 stars
7/25/04 Katie This movie is AWESOME!! It is SO funny! 5 stars
7/25/04 DM Not funny, just mean 2 stars
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz Very funny 4 stars
7/19/04 Northerly Pinkline is a loser 3 stars
7/13/04 Alfred Guy This movie is just funny! Stiller is great. 5 stars
5/13/04 John has its moments but never really takes off 3 stars
1/23/04 Elena This movie was garbage. Most predictable 'plot' EVER and characters sucked. Die Stiller die 1 stars
11/30/03 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
8/01/03 Double G Awesome Movie, Stiller is funny as hell 5 stars
7/13/03 helloooooo this movie sucked 1 stars
7/05/03 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
6/20/03 John Aster Habig An awesome date film too bad I don't have a girlfriend 5 stars
5/15/03 Piz I still recite lines from this movie,a real winner, funny! 5 stars
2/27/03 y2mckay Some of Stiller's best work. Almost makes up for Zoolander. 4 stars
2/05/03 123 Funny ! this is what ben stiller's best role is, being a loser and harassed all the time 5 stars
2/01/03 Hi there Funny! 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Funny, but I wish DeNiro would get serious again 4 stars
10/05/02 melody probably one of the most hilarious movies I've ever seen! 5 stars
9/04/02 Justin Great Film! 5 stars
9/03/02 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
6/10/02 Renee Keener Flawed but on the whole watchable. Where cat goes to poo is hilarious! 4 stars
5/26/02 Nicole I don't get what is so funny about this movie 3 stars
5/26/02 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
5/16/02 Darlene Groetz The movie where Ben Stiller became a zombie of the tragic wands. 3 stars
4/27/02 Butterbean I was surprised by how dull this movie ended up being. 2 stars
4/23/02 Danielle Ophelia Unpretentious, surprisingly honest and very, very funny look at Murphy's Law. 4 stars
4/09/02 The Grinch ROFL! Gets better each time I see it. 5 stars
3/26/02 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
3/06/02 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
12/08/01 Lena I am crazy about Robert De Niro,I have seen almost all films of him,my best is "Heat". 2 stars
12/08/01 Delphine Ramsay Couldn't stop laughing, Love DiNero , Kudo's 5 stars
11/04/01 MissyWalks Watch it every time it's on. Love it. 4 stars
10/23/01 Tony It sucks, predictable cheap laughs 2 stars
10/10/01 Mike Its funny in spots. Worth a look 3 stars
10/01/01 Andrew Carden Pretty Funny Movie. 4 stars
10/01/01 Phoenix Stiller and De Niro are hilarious. 4 stars
9/21/01 Focker H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S 5 stars
7/26/01 moviegoer Pretty Good... 4 stars
7/02/01 Phil M. Afficianado Very funny and well acted. You will (as Gizzy says) keep laughing for a while afterward. 5 stars
6/20/01 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
6/03/01 Socutejd Not what its cracked up to be 3 stars
5/04/01 Dennis O'connor Fockin' funny as hell... Stiller is a pisser... 5 stars
3/31/01 ~*Co_Co*~ Fantastic. Pissed myself from beginning to end. De Niro does it again! 5 stars
3/22/01 Alyssa Tried to do a "Something about Mary". Too over the top. Too predictable. 2 stars
3/21/01 Wyatt Earp Boy. That sucked. 1 stars
3/08/01 Amanda Turkes Was an outrageously funny movie 5 stars
3/08/01 Aaron Correll It's one of those movies were you just look at ways life can bite you in the ass. 3 stars
3/08/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Oh God, I'm about to meet my British boyfriend's parents...HELP??? **laughs** 4 stars
2/16/01 Jake Not quite what I expected, but has its shining moments 4 stars
2/13/01 Richard Wright Excellent comedy, one of the best of the year. Loved Ben and Robert's performances. 5 stars
2/05/01 Classicdog Gay Focker; this movie is a fockin' riot!! 5 stars
1/30/01 Monday Morning Way above average. Some classic comedy moments 4 stars
1/29/01 Matthew Bartley I thank God De Niro will never be my father in law 5 stars
1/26/01 Iggy I saw it twice - on purpose!!! 5 stars
1/19/01 viking funnier than Austin Powers 4 stars
1/14/01 Yoshi Loved it, Ben Stiller is so cute! De Niro was fantastic. Great Focker! 5 stars
1/10/01 Matt69 With Midnight Run, Analyse This and now this Robert Deniro can be a great comic actor 3 stars
1/07/01 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
12/30/00 kevin this movie made me laugh so much. Deniro was great, never see him in a funny role. A+ 5 stars
12/27/00 Tom oh yeah, it was good, but i'll agree with Edward, Tom Green would have been better 4 stars
12/02/00 Phil Milking a cat..........is funny. 5 stars
11/18/00 Tom Hit a chord with me. I couldn't stop laughing 5 stars
11/17/00 Edward A Leonard Some funny shit, DeNiro is awesome as usual, Stiller's part COULD have gone to Tom Green. 4 stars
11/10/00 The Bomb 69 pretty funny, the pace of the movie was off though 4 stars
11/08/00 Patti I was pissed for hours after I saw this stupid, overdone, self-conscious piece of shit. 1 stars
11/05/00 natasha I'm still laughing....... 5 stars
11/03/00 Rob total letdown. bad writing, bad jokes, bad acting, stupid story, unidentifiable characters 2 stars
10/30/00 That Guy Not bad, but disappointing. Stiller sucked. 2 stars
10/27/00 Troy Meet The Parents has to be the funniest movie of the year! DeNiro and Stiller are the best! 5 stars
10/27/00 extar-bags It may not be The In-Laws or Annie Hall, but its still pretty damn good. 4 stars
10/22/00 Blubberbot Enjoyed the Trailer more than the movie. 2 stars
10/21/00 YOUR Movie Expert Funny as Hell.....Funnier than Scary Movie. Volleyball game is funniest part 5 stars
10/18/00 liquid Pretty funny movie, makes you appreciate the inlaws a bit more! 4 stars
10/18/00 Ground Zero nice acting, some LOL (laugh out loud) moments, but still a damn good movie 4 stars
10/14/00 Greyjack Intellectual: No. Funny: Yes. Very Funny: No. 3 stars
10/11/00 bison intellectual: no. funny: yes. very funny: yes. 5 stars
10/11/00 Xalt Reviewer Muskewitz has it right. The ROFL moments were great, though. 4 stars
10/10/00 Paige Not even worth a rental. 1 stars
10/09/00 PJ It was pretty funny, DeNiro and Stiller make a good team. 3 stars
10/09/00 Trepak The cast is wonderful and totally realistic. They have the best chemistry 5 stars
10/08/00 Ground Zero not bad, a few good laughs 4 stars
9/30/00 merkin Could be called "Something About Mary 2" 4 stars
9/16/00 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 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast