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With all the current hype over Meet the Fockers, I am compelled to remember how funny the original Meet the Parents was when I was fortunate enough to see it in Chicago in the mid 90's. I have never heard an audience laugh like that in my life! It still remains one of the best comedies I have ever seen. I understand that the filmmakers are not allowed to show the original and it's too bad. This film, although pretty low budget, had a believability and subtleness that the big budget remake didn't have. I hope after Universal pictures makes every last dollar out of the MTP franchise that they will allow this comedy gem to be released.
MEET THE PARENTS is a clever, dry, and extremely funny film. The lead, Greg Glienna, is an amazingly subtle and truthful comic actor, and with one gag (a very quiet one) he gets as long a laugh as I have ever heard in a movie theater. I've yet to meet anyone who has seen MEET THE PARENTS who has not become a missionary for it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is just great. My father was in this movie and I myself have a copy. I personally think this is way better then the new one. The thing I most like is it doesn't have a sappy, everyone got what they wanted ending. In this one Fay dies and everyone feels sad and depressed and then the movie ends. Very funny too. My father was also in a movie around the same time called They Came From Next Door. Its about a family moving into a new house with horrible neighbors that make cheese balls out of toe wax and old cheese and I hear there remaking that too. What Idident like about the new meet the parents was that everything that happened was to huge. Like the whole yard coverd in poo and the setting that thing on fire. In the original it was just enough to breakup a family. But Fay dyeing was unexpected.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It truly is a shame this will never be released commercially, as it is
loads better than the Ben Stiller remake. I've loved the remake since
it first came out, and like most I've never even heard of the original
independent film from 1991. I managed to get a free DVD-R of this
online and I haven't watched the 2000 movie since.
Greg Glienna is a much more likable Greg. Stiller's character was a bit too goofy (as are most his characters). Glienna is more of your average guy and the whole time I was rooting for him. Sure, some of the incidents that happened were directly his fault, but you forgive him.
To coincide with Greg's character, Dick Galloway plays a more realistic father. Robert De Niro's role of the ex-FBI agent is a bit too extreme to be considered realistic. It would work well as a metaphor, especially if the original gas station attendant storyteller was still used in the 2000 movie. Galloway plays a typical serious, All-American, cigar-smoking father. That's intimidating enough.
A lot of what makes the original Meet the Parents great is the action and dialogue. As soon as Greg and his fiancé enter the house, they completely ignore him; until Pam introduces him everybody is giving love to the dog. The conversation that follows in the living room is also pure, classic humor that shows you more of the father's personality. As the story goes on, you see just how stupid and ignorant Pam's parents are (as well as Pam herself). Her father gets upset from a commonly-used phrase (how would Greg know her father's mother was named Penny and they keep her ashes in an urn?!). Greg accidentally slides the roast off the dining table and everyone is frozen for around 10 seconds; the dog ends up eating it as nobody gets off their asses to do anything.
The incidences pile up, including renting the only Andy Griffith porno/slasher movie in existence, poking Pam's mother in the eye with a fishing pole, being accused of being a thief and a pot smoker, crashing the father's car, and drowning the family dog. I won't spoil the ending, but you've probably already read a summary of what happens somewhere on the internet. If anything that happens sounds ridiculous (and if the ending seems unbelievably dark) there's a reasonable explanation for the entire story. The entire story of Greg and Pam is told by a gas station clerk to a customer (who is also on his way to meet his fiancé's parents). In the end, the customer goes (keeping this horrifying tale in mind), and another customer enters the shop. The customer tells he's headed to the carnival and the clerk, much in the same fashion as the opening film with the previous customer, tells him to "turn around" and starts to tell another horrifying tale of a person who took his family to the carnival. Now, this can be taken two ways: either the clerk has heard a lot of crazy stories from customers over the years or he simply makes up a story for any situation/destination the customer brings up. I personally think it's the latter, as this does make up for anything that seems a bit unbelievable.
I highly recommend searching for a copy of this. The DVD-R I got has great video quality. This film is more suitable for repeat views as the remake since it offers you so much more, story-wise and dialogue-wise. It's a fast-paced roller coaster that you never want to get off of.
HIGH POINTS: Great theme song (written by Emo Philips), very humorous and clever dialogue, creepy psychotic sister who can't sing and can't take no for an answer, the father's "stare of disappointment", "The Country Doctor", and Emo Philips' cameo.
LOW POINTS: The scene with the ex-boyfriend at the bar could've been left out. For me it slowed the movie down and I couldn't wrap my head around Pam dating such an asshole. Some may not care for the "amateur acting" but I personally think their acting is very realistic.
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