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If you hate cats Robert De Niro will kick your butt
rooprect5 January 2014
I know I'm late to the party, but probably so are you if you're reading reviews at this late date. "Meet the Parents" is a funny flick that hearkens back to the glorious late-80s, or maybe even earlier, when comedies weren't so preoccupied with shocking the audience with gross out gags or surprise twists. Most of this movie is wonderfully predictable, and aside from a few deliberately clumsy drug references and maybe a sexual innuendo or two, it was good clean fun from start to finish.

Most of all, I'd say it's a good date flick to prepare yourself for the inevitable agony of meeting your own boyfriend/girlfriend's parents. We all know it sucks. (If you don't think so, oh, just you wait. Sometimes it takes years for them to expose themselves as the hideous flesh eating monsters that they are.) De Niro manages to take us to the utter extreme of monster but without shattering our suspension of disbelief. This is a key point. If the situation were to become too absurd , we would lose focus on the story and instead hone in on the individual gags. While there are plenty of funny gags to go round, they are really just dressing on an already funny premise: the story of an underdog who just cannot fit in to a judgmental bourgeois family no matter how hard (and usually because of how hard) he tries.

Ben Stiller shows his acting diversity (while on a different movie set playing the terminally airheaded Zoolander) as a dorky protagonist whose best intentions are always poorly timed or received completely the wrong way.

The antagonists, in this case, everybody else in the movie, tread the fine line of comedy and irritation. That is, at any time you could find yourself laughing or hating them. What's masterfully done is the filmmaker's (and of course actors') ability to turn you on a dime, take you to the edge of wanting to kill someone but then having a hearty laugh at their antics. Like I said earlier, Robert De Niro is the anchor that makes this possible, and any casting short of him (well, or maybe Christopher Walken) would have resulted in the film falling apart due to the demands it puts on our willingness to accept a complete jerk like the character he plays. Really his only redeeming quality is that he likes cats. But that's the point, I guess. No matter how rude a person may seem, there's always something redeeming in there.

Well, maybe except for the hilariously loathsome airline attendant who appears in a short but pivotal role at the film's climax. To me, that scene was worth the price of admission.

Don't think twice, this is a movie worth seeing. Other similar films focusing on severely dysfunctional families trying to act normally include De Niro & Billy Crystal in "Analyze This", a great Andy Garcia movie called "City Island" and--this may be a stretch but--I think fans of "Meet the Parents" would really enjoy the original British "Death at a Funeral" (2007). Ya just gotta love comedies about trying to be normal in an utterly abnormal situation.
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Love it! Can watch it over and over again.
deloudelouvain8 January 2016
Haha this is one of those comedies that you will always remember. Full of classic lines that my wife and I constantly use on daily bases, like "if it has teat then you can milk it, puff the magical dragon, the circle of trust and so on..." Meet The Parents is full of those phrases that makes me laugh every time I think about it. And that's what defines a good comedy to me. If I watch a comedy I want to laugh and with this one it's what you get. Some people might not like it but then to me they just don't have a sense of humor and that's just a pity for them. You have to like Ben Stiller though because it's basically him that is the great comedian of the movie. If you don't like him you probably not going to like the movie either. Like I don't like the movies with Adam Sandler. I think that guy is not funny and so his comedies are painful to watch for me. In Meet The Parents the whole story is basically about the relation between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Robert De Niro that plays his role brilliantly as well by the way. The other actors are good as well but it's not them that carry the movie. To me it's already a classic movie when I think about the best comedies I ever saw.
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Great comedy
mjw230523 January 2007
Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is a male nurse, poised to propose to the woman he loves, Pam (Teri Polo) but the right thing to do would be to ask her father's permission first. During a weekend of getting to know them, he manages to make a strong impression; for all the wrong reasons. Her father (Robert De Niro) isn't quite what Greg has been led to believe, and right from the start he seems to have it in for his daughter's partner.

De Niro and Stiller play off each other brilliantly, and both of them give fine comic performances, with a surprising level of depth for comedy characters. This film is packed with slick gags, hilarious scenes and it has a really fun story; it's a comedy film that you don't want to miss.

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Very funny - but the real strength of the film is being able to relate to the characters
MovieAddict201611 April 2003
Our story begins when a male nurse named Greg Focker (Stiller) is about to propose to his girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo); unfortunately, things come to worst and before Greg can say, "Will you marry me?" he finds out that Pam's father, Jack (Robert De Niro) approved of Pam's sister's fiancé because he asked Jack's permission to marry her first. Taken aback, Greg decides to wait until tomorrow, whence they are going to meet Pam's parents, and ask Jack for approval before proposing to Pam. Should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. Pam's mother (Blythe Danner) is very nice, but herein lies the problem: Not only is it apparent from the start that Pam's plant-expert father is not really a plant-expert (as Greg learns after Jack doesn't seem to recognize a plant Greg gives to him--one of the rarest plants in the world), but it turns out Jack is really in the CIA and was a "human lie detector," as Pam herself puts it. In fact, Jack even gives Greg a lie detector test in one scene to see if he liked the dinner earlier in the evening. "Yes," Greg replies, to see the needle jumping. "Well, it was a little rare for my tastes, maybe." Greg, desperately seeking approval (and nervous as ever), seems to unintentionally cause mayhem in his possible parents-to-be's home. Nerves shot like a drug addict, Greg is the definition of a nervous wreck, and all his problems seem to escalate more and more until a funny-if-sappy comedic showdown.

You know how sometimes you are really nervous, but try to hide the fact? You seem to keep your cool, until you do something, then all your nervousness explodes and you start knocking over things, saying stupid things--single-handedly DOING stupid things that you just never do? And then you look around and everyone is looking at you like you are some sort of freak? Well, that's how it is with Greg's character in "Meet the Parents"--he is so easy to identify with. Just like all of us, we want to keep our cool and impress people--but once we lose it, the coolness seems to slip farther and farther away from our grip until we are klutzes on feet. For Greg's character, small things turn bigger and bigger and bigger--from knocking over the remains of Jack's mother (and having a cat go to the bathroom on the remains), to setting the house on fire and busting the septic tank. Situations seem to escalate farther and farther out of control and they just keep getting worse and worse.

In one scene, Greg tries to impress everyone while playing volleyball in a pool. His team is losing because of him. "Get up and hit the ball," Jack says to him. So the next time the ball comes around to Greg, he jumps up and smacks the ball with all his might, sending it flying towards...Pam's sister (whose wedding is the next day), shattering her nose. Greg lands back in the pool and seems to be happy, until he realizes he smacked his sister-in-law-to-be in the nose. Then everyone looks at him like he's an insensitive idiot.

Things like that have happened to me countless times, and that is why I can so easily identify with Greg. People are yelling at Greg to do something, and when he finally does it, it backfires and everyone looks at him like he's stupid, even though he did exactly what he was told.

That's the kind of thing that makes this movie so great--not only is it extremely funny, but we can easily identify with the main character countless times throughout the film. That is, perhaps, the best thing about this comedy.
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A modern comedy classic with emotional depth.
the red duchess21 December 2000
Warning: Spoilers
With a hero called Gaylord M. Focker, you might expect this to be a film of snickering silliness. It IS snickeringly silly - the soon-to-be-immortal champagne/urn scene; the cat-milking discussion; the skimpy swimming trunks; the volleyball bloodbath; the flushing cat; the wooden altar conflagration; the septic tank spray etc.; all good, healthy, daft, slapstick, prurient, scatalogical stuff. And while I in no way condone Greg's vile rage directed at the air-stewardess, it is very funny.

But, 'Meet the Parents' has the emotional truths that turn it from being merely a funny film into a comedy classic. Anyone who has ever been married or about to will recognise the horrible accuracy of this film. My own father-in-law is remarkably like Jack Byrnes here; not that he is an ex-CIA spycatcher (at least, I don't think so); but in his ability to intimidate, humiliate, terrorise, impose his power.

My point is that Jack's profession is only a comic exaggeration of what all fathers- or mothers-in-law are like, figures terrified of losing their children, defending them like animals in the wild, convinced that a prospective so-and-so will never be good enough for our baby, not even thinking that neither might they have been; refusing to admit they are getting old, that they are losing power and control.

It's only logical that the monster in-law from hell should be obsessive about power and control. His domestic panopticon is a superb metaphor for extended family life, the idea of being judged, marked on 'success' or 'suitability' ratings, your every personal, financial, health etc. problem a matter for family investigation. Bitter, moi? Greg should be lucky Jack isn't married to Monica Geller's mom.

But the film doesn't simplistically pit Capraesque good guy Greg against shady CIA man Jack. If Jack is all about control, then so is Greg. The film has one of the best musical openings in recent memory ('if you're gentle and sweet, you're an idiot...'), but the opening montage is more sinister, as a faceless cameraman takes home movies of a pretty blonde. Pam is the true victim of this film, the prize in a macho battle of wits, the female bystander in the great masculine generational conflict, as Jack proves he's not past it, and Greg proves he's not a loser. Those voyeuristic home movies echo Jack's surveillance cameras and perform the same function, to watch, to control, to limit (just as Kevin remembers Pam by his photographs and his erotic memories).

One is heartened by the ironies of the ending, not just Jack breaking his word, determined to keep up his power games as he watches his CCTV's filming the most private places, where people are at their most vulnerable and exposed (revealing, truthfully, that the in-law struggle never ends)

The film also has some cutting things to say about the lingering anti-semitism in WASPish society; nothing much has changed since 'Auntie Mame'.

It is wonderful to see Robert de Niro finally getting a decent comedy. He has always been hilarious in 'straight' roles ('Mean Streets', 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull' etc.), but his comic vehicles have spluttered to a halt. He is genius here, his menace, his gestures, facial contortions, way of throwing out a line like he's garrotting it - bliss. If 'Parents' finally lacks the pull of a film like 'There's Something About Mary', then it's probably the nature of the plot. 'Mary' had an active plot, it was a quest, necessitating narrative and character development, and thus more audience commitment. 'Parents' is purely destructive, as Jack tries to destroy a love that's already been built up. Sadly, this scenario is much truer.
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One of the funniest comedies of the year, De Niro and Stiller make the perfect comedy pair. *** (out of four)
Movie-121 November 2000
MEET THE PARENTS / (2000) *** (out of four)

By Blake French:

The main character in "Meet The Parents" is a Chicago-based male nurse, Greg Focker (pronounced just how it is spelled) who realizes how unlucky a person can be. He is about to propose to his schoolteacher girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo), when her sister Debbie (Nicole Dehuff) calls and explains that her new fiancé, Dr. Bob Banks (Tom McCarthy), received a blessing from her father before he asked the question. This information makes Greg reconsider his method of choice, and instead jumps at the opportunity to meet Pam's overprotective parents when they fly to the east coast two weeks later to arrange Debbie's wedding.

At the airport, the attendants loose Greg's parcels. Thus he arrives without any luggage. Once at Pam's parent's house, they exchange greetings and aquatint themselves with each other. Pam's parents, Jack and Dina Byrnes (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner) learn about Greg's unusual last name, that he does not like cats, and is a male nurse, all facts that do not settle well with Pam's father. Greg does manage to gift Jack with a pleasant supply of rare flowers. However, even though Pam explained to Greg that her dad is in the hobby of rare flowers, he does not seem too impressed.

Even More complications ensue, especially when Greg learns of Jack's peculiar behaviors and suspicious gadgets, such as a polygraph and hidden cameras placed in every room of the house, as well as meeting Pam's brother, Denny (Jon Abrahams), and Debbie's soon to be in laws, Larry (James Rebhorn), and Linda Banks (Phillis George), and Pam's wealthy ex-fiancée, Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson). Soon, Greg's chances of receiving Jack's permission to wed his daughter become less and less probable as his bad luck only manages to increase.

The film introduces Greg and Pam with silly quirks that come up later in the story. Pam's parents are also quite the treat; the movie does not go over the top but portrays them with serious humor and charismatic wit. It is De Niro and Stiller who make the movie, however. They form an very effective comedic chemistry, even more amusing than the likable shtick between De Niro and Billy Crystal in "Analyze This." The filmmakers take advantage of the phenomenal tension between Greg and Jack, and place them in one hilarious situation after another.

While outrageous and at times explosively funny, director Jay Roach takes the plot seriously. His previous films, including the Austin Powers films and "Mystery, Alaska," have had trouble with taking anything seriously. But "Meet The Parents" has emotional connections, develops solid empathy for Greg, and we really believe he has something precious that can be lost: Pam.

The movie does not completely develop romantic chemistry between Ben Stiller and Teri Polo, thus there were times when I simply did not believe the two were really in love. The relationship sometimes feels trite and contrived. There are also important plot nuggets left only partially examined: Jack's pot-head son, who could have contributed a lot more to the drug related material, is left as a plot device to provide another string of conflicts within Jack and Greg.

I really enjoyed the whimsical performances and opportune casting. Ben Stiller reprises his "There's Something About Mary" role, with cute charm and the obscured zany flippancy. Robert De Niro is perfect in a role he was born to play, with serious attitude that results in the main portion of the film's funny moments. Blythe Danner is also charming in a kind of role that is becoming all too usual for her.

"Meet the Parents" is one of the funniest movies of the year. It gives audiences with a solid story that does not interfere with the comic material, but contributes to it. The top notch performances and lively direction also raise the film to a higher level. During a year in which effective comedies are an endangered species, "Meet The Parents" is a landmark achievement in light entertainment.
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This comedy doesn't fock around. It really does meets the requirement on being funny! I'm satisfied with the results.
ironhorse_iv9 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Meeting the parents of your partner for the first time will always be nerve wracking. The pressures of making a great first impression can make any man or woman, feel awkward and nervous. For some of them, meeting the parents can turn out to be, a total disaster. Directed by Jay Roach, the film chronicles a series of excruciating moments that befall, one such man; Greg Focker (Ben Stiller), when meeting his girlfriend, Pam Byrnes's (Teri Polo) parents; overbearing father, Jack (Robert De Niro) & kind-hearted, mother Dina (Blythe Danner). Without spoiling the movie, too much, I thought the series of unfortunate events & misunderstands were very funny at the time and still, is, even if some of the jokes hasn't aged well; such with the common misconceptions and stereotypes about gender roles & sexual orientations. While, the jokes about Greg's unlucky last name were very fresh at the time for a PG-13 movie, I think, rewatching this movie, along with the films badly delivered, sequels; 2004's 'Meet the Fockers' & 2010's 'Little Fockers' have, really run that joke to the ground. It's just not as risky or funny as it used to be. Nevertheless, most of the humor is still, timeless. The whole scene of Greg, explaining, how you can milk anything with nipples, will forever, crack me up! Ben Stiller really does delivered as the good-hearted but hapless goofball of a boyfriend, without going, way, over the top with his reaction and ad lib abilities. I also love, how the movie doesn't play, too much of the slapstick physical comedy that Stiller was known for, at the time. Don't get me wrong, I love 1998's 'There's something about Mary', but I do like, how the film, for the most part, keeps the humor, realistic in tone. It makes for more, well-rounded, appealing movie, because how relatable, some of the actions scenes, were. As for Robert De Niro, it's probably, his best comedic role, ever. Even better than his role in 1999's mob comedy, 'Analyze This'. Although, playing Jack Byrnes isn't much of challenge for Niro, since there was barely any different between that movie character from the normal, dramatic commanding tough guy roles, De Niro is known for. I have to say, the role did help him, bounce back from the awfully of 2000's the live-action/animated film, 'The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle', which nearly put a halt to De Niro's comedy acting career. It really does show the public, that the man can indeed make people, laugh. One thing, I thought, the movie could had improve, upon, is giving Blythe Danner's character, more to do. Don't get me wrong, her performance was mostly fine, but Danner's talent really does seem a bit wasted, in this forgettable role. I was really, hoping for Dina, to be, just as hard on Greg as Jack is. After all, the movie is call, 'Meet the Parents', not 'Meet the Father'. Nevertheless, deep down me, I really did like the comedic performance of everybody involve with this project, ranging from James Rebhorn as Dr. Bob, Owen Wilson playing Pam's ex-fiancée, Kevin Rawley to the two five-year-old Himalayan cats that both played Mr. Jinx. I just wish, the female characters, had more to do, than stand them, looking disgust or embarrassed at Greg's actions. Regardless of that, the movie has more to give, than jokes. The movie was very well-shot. There is no better, example of fine-filmmaking than the roof scene. The way, Roach & his crew was able to show, multiply times, happening, at once is amazing. Another great thing, about this movie is the music, compose by music artist, Randy Newman. All of them, are easy-listening & worth checking out on their own. After all, Newman's original song "A Fool in Love" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. So it's worth a listen or two. Overall: I have to say, this is one of those remakes that really outshine the original movie. It makes 1992's independent film of the same name look unfunny, cheap, and amateurism. 2001's 'Meet the Parent' is a fairly good film to sit down and watch with the whole family. That's no lie. I truly do like this comedy. No need for a polygraph test to prove that.
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Get Ready to Laugh!
g-bodyl23 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Meet the Parents is one of the funniest films this decade and it is not a spoof. I was laughing so hard, soda came bursting out of my nose. Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller did such an amazing job. I was not bored of this movie at all. Gaylord Focker and his girlfriend, Pam are set to become engaged. But to do so, they must travel to Pam's parents. It turns out that Pam's father, Jack is a CIA agent and dislikes Gaylord a lot. Gaylord did many hilarious things which includes losing a rare cat. The ironic thing is that Pam's sister got engaged and will be married....when and if Gaylord can get his act together. The acting is wonderful. You usually don't see De Niro doing movies like this. He did absolutely amazing. Ben Stiller did just as good. If you want to see this movie, get ready to laugh. This movie is full of laughs! I rate this movie 10/10.
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Painfully funny
rbverhoef30 May 2004
Most of the funny moments in 'Meet the Parents' involve painful scenes with Ben Stiller. He plays Greg Focker, a male nurse who loves Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). He wants to marry her with her father's permission. He hasn't met her parents yet. The movie shows us the weekend where Stiller meets the parents. Pam's father is Jack (Robert De Niro) and her mother is Dina (Blythe Danner). The more Greg tries to impress the parents, especially Jack who is a former CIA-agent, the more he humiliates himself. Not only with his actions, also with his words and stupid lies to look better.

Stiller is perfect in this kind of role. We already saw that, especially in 'There's Something About Mary'. The more he gets in trouble, the more painful it gets, the better Stiller gets and the more we laugh. There is also a fine little part from Owen Wilson as Pam's former lover. Stiller and Wilson have made a lot of films together and for some reason their scenes always work, they at least make you smile. De Niro doesn't try very hard to be a strict person who doesn't give Greg a chance and therefore succeeds even better. The way he slowly gets harder and harder on Greg is good for a new laugh every time. 'Meet the Parents', directed by Jay Roach who also directed the 'Austin Powers' trilogy, is a fine comedy with a lot of sequences where you might feel a little uncomfortable.
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a truly marvelous comedy
Buddy-5119 August 2001
Funny as well as touching, `Meet the Parents' blazes forth as one of the outstanding comedies of recent years.

Co-writers Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke, along with director Jay Roach, have managed to make a film that is often laugh-out-loud hilarious without ever becoming overbearing or obnoxious, the style of choice for far too many other comedies made in this day and age. Although the film overflows with madcap situations and even outright slapstick at times, these comic elements are always tethered to the reality of the premise and to the emotional states of the characters involved.

The foundation for any great comedy must, first and foremost, be its ability to connect with its audience on a personal level. `Meet the Parents' does so from the very start by tapping into the universal dilemma we all face at one time or another of desperately trying to make a good impression on someone we feel holds nothing less than the fate of our lives in their own two hands. For some of us this person might come in the form a boss or a potential employer or, as in poor Greg Focker's case, those most dreaded figures of all – the prospective in-laws. The comedy arises from seeing the chain of ever more preposterous events and circumstances that come along to sabotage his efforts. Greg is a goodhearted, well-meaning nebbish who wants nothing more out of life than to marry Pam, the girl he loves. First, however, he must climb over the rather formidable barrier of her eccentric father, Jack Byrnes, played to perfection by Robert De Niro, who certainly has his own offbeat way of looking at the world.

The triumph of this film is that it never overdoes anything. The people in Pam's family and in their coterie of friends are all twisted it's true, but twisted in sly, subtle ways that knock both Greg and us slightly off our balance. Like Greg, we never quite know where these people are coming from and this greatly enhances the comedic quality of the film. Tone is everything in comedy and here the tone is just right. Byrnes can seem at one moment to be a reasonable loving father, then turn immediately around and make the most unbalanced comments about the most trivial matters. Even when the movie is at its most outrageous in terms of plot complications and slapstick, it never veers off the scale into incredibility. Part of the reason is that we feel so much empathy for Greg, the best Everyman character I have seen in a movie in a long time. Ben Stiller gives a beautifully understated comic performance in the main role. Greg's completely understandable feelings of nervousness, intimidation and growing frustration help to keep the film anchored in reality, even as the story threatens to spiral off into undisciplined absurdity. Luckily, the filmmakers never let this happen. They are also blessed with the genius of Mr. De Niro, who never makes a false move as the seemingly crazy ex-CIA agent who may or may not be harboring a few secrets of his own. Above all, De Niro never lets us bank on the extent of his character's eccentricity, which brilliantly enhances this `weekend from hell' scenario. For crazy and maddening as he can be at times, we can't help loving this character.

Finally, unlike in many other romantic dramas and comedies, the relationship between the young couple in this film is both believable and touching. Greg and Pam are so likable - and the odds against them seem so staggering - that we find ourselves rooting them on from first moment to last. Their moments together are genuinely touching at times, particularly in the film's closing stretches.

Kudos go out to everyone involved for making `Meet the Parents' one of the slyest, wittiest and flat-out funniest movies to come our way in a long, long time.
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A comedy with Stiller at his most awkwardly best
willcundallreview29 March 2015

Meet the Parents is a comedy and almost kind of romance movie that boats a stellar cast and some funny lines. The humour here is spread out well and the laughs don't just all come in one scene or the other, it makes you laugh at the end and the beginning too. I think the majority of the laughs are more physical than what they say, but what I will add is that when Greg(Ben Stiller) says certain lines, they come off brilliantly. I felt it was just about good and here below is why.

The cast here seem excellent and Ben Stiller as I mentioned is cast well in the lead role as Greg, his physical humour matches up to his line delivery and both combine very well. Robert De Niro as the father in law Jack is great as well, he somehow seems to mix serious but still feel funny and all credit to him on this one. Teri Polo as Pam, Greg's finance, is well cast and so even is Blythe Danner including people like Owen Wilson too to create a first rate bunch of characters.

It's written well, now what I will say is that the script doesn't quite produce as memorable scenes as some of the more physical jokes do but there still funny anyway. John Hamburg and Jim Herzfeld do a good job as I say writing this and both seem to combine past experiences well, with Hamburg who worked with Stiller on "Zoolander" yet again bringing out the laughs and the type of humour we have come to expect.

I think the director Jay Roach is probably the best thing in a way about this, yes you may say how is it not Stiller, but Roach is the master here when it comes to the most memorable parts, and a lot of the laughs. Roach seems to be able to not only get good delivery, but make things very awkward, and part of you even feels awkward watching it at times.

Now Meet the Parents isn't the funniest film you will ever see, if it is then there is much else out you need to see, but it does stand tall when it comes to comedy, and laughs can be had a plenty everywhere. I think although it is a typical comedy type plot, the jokes and the cast involved+ some memorable scenes create a movie that is new when it comes to jokes and even maybe creates a new type of Rom-Com.

On the jokes side again, pretty much any scene where it goes wrong for Greg is funny, whether he is hurt, hurts somebody or basically does something to destroy something, It makes not only Stiller's reactions funnier, but also how the cast react, just hilarious on that side of things. I also think how De Niro goes from actually kind of nice to angry in a matter of seconds is perfect, top class acting from the great.

So overall I think this is a good movie, just scraping into being good but still a good one. I think the reason it isn't great is that it isn't smart ENOUGH, it is smart but there could have been some better jokes or maybe even this type of plot just only works to a certain point. Nevertheless I can't recommend this more, whether you like Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro or any of the cast involved, your sure to have a great time and laugh a lot along the way.
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Parental Discretion
tedg1 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Movies are seldom about life, but life is often about movies. Most cultural dynamics are fueled by stereotypes and those stereotypes are manufactured for us in increasing measure by film. There's a feedback loop where filmmakers chase formula and that formula follows from previous films and the stuff of this formula in most entertainment is stereotypes.

This film is pure drek. The slide of DeNiro from great actor isn't even interesting anymore. What IS interesting, at least to me, is how Stiller is reviving a certain stereotype -- the warmhearted, weak Jew: the oddball anti-intellectual. When Chaplin played the tramp, it was a class thing. When Jackson plays a literate killer, its a race thing. The portrayal of Jews at this level is both: it seems unhealthy to me, and somewhat cowardly, much lower than the septic tank jokes.

Instead of the Jew-doctor, Stiller plays a nurse who is belittled by `real' doctors. Instead of the banker powerbroker, we have Stiller easily ridden by the CIA guy (incidentally a John Bircher to judge from his bedtime reading*). His predecessor and still competitor is a Jesus-freak. He is bested by a cat. His name is derided. Shrewdness (that mainstay) is replaced by spinelessness and incompetence. His bumbling destroys an altar.

But he still aces his grad school test, and once away from the WASPs becomes aggressive, so there is some hint that underneath is a `regular' Jew. These films have lots of managers, so surely this is engineered. I can imagine the pitch, knowing they have Stiller who can play this kind of part.

Think about it. Not funny is it?

(* For those who don't know, the book DeNiro is reading is perhaps the most influential screed on `global Jewish conspiracies' in the postwar US. Such stuff as: Eisenhower was secretly a commie Jew who gave half of Europe to Stalin.)

((PS This comment was written in the same suspicious-of-everything stance.))
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A missed opportunity
Steve W-218 January 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Warning: Spoilers ahead

This film was a real disappointment. It had a good premise and a good cast but, apart from one or two amusing set-pieces, mainly failed to deliver.

The plot partly relied upon mistaken identity due to the main character having changed his name. His real name was Gaylord Foker (oh my aching ribs!). The name was unnecessarily vulgar bearing in mind that it's main task was to set up the confusion of identity scenario (and hey, I liked the dialogue in Goodfellas and Casino so its not a sensibility issue). The name was used at intervals throughout the film to get cheap laughs in a way that was more suited to the "Carry on" films. It wouldn't be worth mentioning, except that so many scenes in the film seemed to rely on it for laughs (even before his 1st name was revealed to be "Gaylord").

Although one or two of the set-pieces were funny, every single one of them was telegraphed way ahead. De Niro gets all emotional about his Mothers ashes - Greg breaks the urn, Greg floods the lawn with s**t - his girlfriends ex drives up in a truck and sprays them with it, the ex carves a beautiful altar for her sister's wedding - Greg burns it down. And so on and so on - you get the picture? All we were missing was Greg leaving a rake for someone to step on and wack themselves in the eye

Imagine a comedy that combines the intelligence and sophistication of "Frasier" or the "Phil Silvers Show" with the slapstick of the Marx Brothers - well you ain't imagining this film. Mixing slapstick/farce with a bit of sophistication is fine when done well ("The Producers" for example) but here the comedy never got sophisticated enough to provide a counterpoint to the -adequate- slapstick. The only low gag they missed was not having the Thai honeymoon destination being Phuket!

This was a film that intermittently promised to develop into something good (De Niro's poem to his dead mother for instance), and the cast did their best with thin material. In the end though it couldn't build on it's few bright spots - it could have been much, much better with a bit more effort.
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A Terrible Movie
LauraH247720 August 2002
This movie is almost painful to watch. You just feel sorry for Ben Stiller's character. He basically spends a couple days being tormented and humiliated by his girlfriend's family. There is no way anyone would put up with this crap in real life. I would have left the first night. He is intimidated and nervous around his girlfriend's father, and desperate for approval, so he screws up over and over, each time worse than the last. The father doesn't help matters, as he belittles and embarrasses the poor guy at every opportunity. (Sorry, I forget the characters names.) The girlfriend hardly does a damn thing to stick up for him. Then Dad's friends show up and join in on the fun. One scene in particular has them playing volleyball in the pool and they are ridiculing him for missing the ball. So then he overcompensates and ends up smashing his girlfriend's sister in the face with the ball. They all criticize him, telling him it's "just a game, Focker!" and act as if he meant to hurt the girl. Another is when he finally has enough and is leaving and the whole bunch stands on the porch and laughs at his given name, which we find out is Gaylord. The girlfriend says nothing, just letting the poor guy take another kick in the teeth after all the other humiliation he's been through for her sake. The entire family is totally unlikable, Focker is the only one I cared about, and that's only because I was forced to care by watching this poor guy get put through the ringer over and over. Then comes the contrived ending where everything is made good in about five minutes and he forgives all. If I were this guy, I would never speak to these psychos again. Sorry to run on so much, but this movie really affected me and I couldn't see how someone could laugh at this guy's misfortunes. Maybe it's just me...
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Meet the Parents is a must-see!
klizee2 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Fresh from a lackluster summer full of sophomoric films, I was quite happy to have found myself in the theatre watching a sneak preview of the Universal/Dreamworks picture Meet the Parents.

I remember the weekend that I first met my husband's parents. Joe and I were not even engaged yet. I spent the entire weekend stressed and worried that I'd offend them (they're Jewish and it was Passover weekend) or make an idiot of myself.

I need not have worried. In the movie Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller's character, Greg Focker (yes, that *is* his last name) breaks all previously held records for making an ass of one's self and sets new, unattainable ones, albeit, through not much fault of his own.

The premise of this movie is simple. Greg wants to marry his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (played by Teri Polo). However, he has yet to meet her family. Pam's sister Debbie is getting married and so Greg goes along, wanting to ask the father's permission since that is what Jack (Pam's father) would expect.

Greg even packs a gorgeous two Carat ring in his carry-on. Unfortunately, his bag is deemed too big and it must be checked. You *know* at this point that they WILL lose his bag. What you don't know is all the ensuing comedy that will stem from this one incident.

The humor in this film reminds me of the TV show Seinfeld. It all connects. Jerry loses luggage. However, in this luggage is something that Kramer put in there that will cause...yada yada yada....which has a domino effect and POW! The audience is loving it.

As was the audience that saw this sneak preview. There were many times when the movie could not be heard because people were *still* laughing over the last hilarious scene. They didn't give you time to catch your breath. People were laughing like I haven't heard people laugh in a theatre in a long, long time. Big, gigantic, full body laughs. I know, because I was one of them.

Greg and Pam, sans Greg's luggage (which was lost) arrive and "Meet the Parents." Robert De Niro plays Jack Byrnes, Pam's ex CIA interrogator father who Greg thinks is a retired rare flower dealer. Pam's mother is played with the appropriate level of ditzy dryness by Blythe Danner.

Pam hurriedly tells Greg to get rid of his cigarettes because her father thinks smoking is a sign of weakness. The cigarettes are thrown to the roof. Don't forget about those, because later, they'll be the falling domino for future scenes that you will LOVE. Our audience was losing it.

The supporting characters here are well cast. Owen Wilson has a great turn as Pam's ex, Kevin. Kevin is *everything* that Greg is not, and Pam's dad doesn't hesitate to remind everyone of that fact non-stop. I haven't laughed this much in a too long of a time. I would recommend this film without hesitation. It's smart and funny and just plain FUN. And make sure you pay attention to the last scene. It had me giggling *all* the way home.
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No pressure.
Lady_Targaryen19 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Gaylord 'Greg' Focker(Ben STiller), needs to meet the parents of his girlfriend (and future fiancé)Pam Byrnes(Teri Polo).The biggest problem is Pam's father, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), a complicated,neurotic,jealous and suspicious man, who doesn't help being nice to his future son in law. In 'Meet the Parents' the jokes and the cast are sooo great! I can't even imagine Jim Carrey as Gaylord Focker, or Christopher Walken as Jack Byrnes.(these two were the director's first choice) I think this film is a great choice for everybody who likes good comedies,specially with Ben Stiller.

ps: Who else liked Jinx,the cat? =)
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Worst. Movie. Ever.
dpasq-17 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Sorry, but I just don't see how anyone can find this movie funny. I put the spoiler warning on this comment since I am about to give away the biggest comedic device in the movie. As unbelievable as it sounds, the protagonist in the movie has a last name that rhymes with a naughty word. His last name is Focker! Why is this piece of information a spoiler? Because joke after joke after joke after joke is made on this simple premise. In fact, it's so hilarious that they felt the need to put it in the title of the next movie! In addition, the scenarios in this movie were so far fetched that instead of being able to enjoy it, I spent the entire time wondering why the writers were so lazy that instead of coming up with reasonable plot scenarios, they just passed off ridiculous decisions in order to force supposedly humorous scenes. Case and point - Ben Stiller's character loses his luggage while on the way to meet his fiancée's parents. The first morning he wakes up in his fiancée's family's house, he wants to change clothes but doesn't have any. His fiancée suggests that he borrow some of her brother's clothes. So far, this all seems reasonable. Stiller's character then asks her to go get some of these clothes. Instead, she tells him it would make more sense that even though he has yet to meet her brother, he should walk into his room unannounced and feel free to root through his bureau until he finds something he wants. Would any person in their right mind ever suggest such a thing? Needless to say, her brother then catches this man he doesn't know going through his underwear drawer. That's it! That's the big joke! And that is supposed to be funny! I could go on with numerous examples just as ridiculous as this that litter this movie, but I've wasted enough time. If I can convince just one person not to waste the 2 hours of his or her life on this abomination of a film, I will consider this exercise worth while.

1 out of 10
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jspratjr329 August 2002
I thought this was an excellent comedy...from start to finish. Any man or women who has had "rough" in-laws, or "soon-to-be" in-laws can probably relate to Greg's plight.....and to comments of 9/11...I suppose MASH shouldn't have been made (wars are NOT funny) and Cheers was disgusting with all the alcoholics we have roaming this planet .... sheesh.....lighten up!!!
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"I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?"
Benjamin-Piche28 March 2020
My dad is a tough laugh when it comes to comedies. It's just not his cup of tea, for the most part. So when he told me that Meet the Parents was one of the funniest films he had ever seen, I knew that we had to watch it together.

He was right. This movie is a ton of fun, with great dialogue and fantastic gags. Ben Stiller is perfect in this everyday guy type of character to which you can relate, and Robert de Niro does what he always does and gives a very funny, underrated performance. Also, how can you dislike a movie in which Owen Wilson gives us one of his signature wows?

If I had to complain about anything in this film, it would be that it leaves its biggest question unanswered by the end of it : can you indeed milk Robert de Niro?
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De Niro The Comedian
ccthemovieman-124 October 2006
Odd to state that "Robert De Niro is the star of this comedy," but that's the case here. One doesn't normally associate him with comedy, but he's a pretty versatile actor, and can play a lot more characters than Mafia-type thugs. He's also a pretty darned good comedian, as he first proved way back in the early '80s with Rupert Pupkin in "The King of Comedy."

Anyway, De Niro and Ben Stiller provide a lot of laughs in this modern-day comedy. No sense going into detail as there are plenty of other reviews here. I hate to see the "hero" of a movie being a character who is chronic liar (Stiller's "Greg Focker") but that's not unusual in the world of films. That, and Blythe Danner's excessive use of God's name as exclamations gets annoying.

Other than that, it's a fun movie that turned out to be a hit and justifiably so. I imagine you could get a lot of laughs from watching this over and over. That would be better than watching the sequel.
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Only laugh came when Pepsi shot from my friend's nostrils
jickweez2 November 2000
What's up with the American public? No doubt we're starving for something, anything that smacks of entertainment. But this movie's lame premise, a male nurse meeting his 8-month girlfriend's parents, shouldn't warrant a No. 1 movie for many weeks. All the jokes in it are recycled from another better movie. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! S*** being splattered onto an unwary family? Come on, Trainspotting did that four years ago and to a better comedic effect. MTP is a waste of time and money. Go see Best in Show again if you want new comedy.
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Boring and just plain bad.
ian-scott24 March 2003
Before I was forced to watch this movie I had already guessed the story. Some of the gags were amusing but they just had Ben Stiller, aka Gaylord 'Greg' Focker, messing up EVERY single thing. It made the movie very tired.

This movie could've been much better (but not less predictable) if they'd had half as many gags but made them more likely and deeper.

Not one of Robert De Niro's better moments. Shame really.
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Awful, Awful
fiteclub!9 October 2000
This film is an uneven mess. It is funny for about 10-15 minutes at the beginning, and for maybe 45 seconds (possibly two minutes) at the end. The rest of the film is a horrible monstrosity.

After the initial, fifteen minutes (I'll be generous), the film suddenly falls in love with its gross-out comedy. It began as a kinda strange, funny film about characters. There's unspoken tension between Stiller and DeNiro, and it was very funny. Then the film becomes a slapstick gross out mess of a film, and the jokes were seen miles away. The tragedy is that even when they're being set up we already know they will not be funny, so when they are finally delivered, we completely hate them.

At around the midpoint, you find the film too absurd to be taken seriously, and from there it only gets worse. The characters are so uneven and poorly written that you don't even really care what they say or do.

Things get more and more absurd and less and less funny as the film goes on and on (and on and on). Clueless Director Jay Roach clearly had a vision for this film, but it's a shame his crew didn't share the same vision. It's obvious that no one knew what the hell they were doing in this atrocity besides the director. And it's the irony of ironies that this happens to be one of the worst American directors working today.

This film is much, much worse than those Austin Powers films Roach directed, and I think that's saying quite a lot. In fact-

Wait, wait, what the hell am I doing writing this review? Why am I still typing? This film is awful-stay away! It doesn't even deserve my time in writing a decent review. If they didn't put that much effort into their film, why should I put that much effort into this?
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Cruel and Unkind
darqness22 April 2003
The very first thing that irritated me about this film was the appalling gag used throughout the film. The man is named Greg (Gaylord) Focker. Although his surname sounds vaguely like a swearword, this is a very thin gag which is the basis of huge chunks of the film. This is the first cruel part of this film.

The film is focused towards victimising the main character. Instead of making gags about the mistakes he makes inadvertently, he is forced to make these mistakes. It is so rigid. It seems that all acting and storylines are suspended until the next mistake happens and then the next five minutes is verbal abuse at what best can be described as accidents.

It seems that the entire family, including his girlfriend are hoping and praying for him to make a mistake so that they can get rid of him. He tries to impress and help the family. They make no attempt to apologise when they are at fault.

Many other reviews focus on the fact that you can identify with the main character, this enables you to laugh at this film. This is the entire problem with this film. The fact that you can identify with the character makes this film even harder to watch. If Ben Stiller hadn't done such a great job at portraying this character then maybe I could stand to laugh. His performance was too good. I put myself in his shoes once too often during this film and was disgusted with the way he is treated.

The character is too nice to laugh at. He is true to himself. (His job choice) He cares about other's beliefs. (Asking her father for permission) He is desperate to please and earn the respect and acceptance of his 'new' family.

The rest of the cast is exposed to be cruel and nasty at various points in the film. How can people dare to laugh at the nicest and most honest character in this film.

Ben Stiller - 8/10 (For his portrayal)

Everything else - 0/10
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I want my money back
Ed-9012 October 2000
This is perhaps the worst film I have seen in ten years. It simply was not funny...the gags were predictable (His name was "Focker"...her middle name Martha...they marry and what's her full name???) Awful. Not even DeNiro can save this one. The theater wasn't 1/3 full, and only a little red haired lady in the back would laugh now and then...I walked out it was so bad, and really would like my money back.
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