This is the only film in the franchise in which Pam's sister, Deborah Byrnes, appears on-screen, though she is frequently mentioned in all of the films. Nicole DeHuff, the actress who played her, died in 2005. This explains her absence in Little Fockers (2010), but not Meet the Fockers (2004).
According to the DVD commentary, the car chase scene was originally meant to be a spoof of Ronin (1998). When the filmmakers got to the location, they saw how quickly the lights changed, realized it would be a funnier joke, and re-wrote the scene (the lights really did change from green to red as fast as they are shown in the movie).
Ben Stiller flew out to Los Angeles to propose to Christine Taylor while shooting the film. She thought he was still in New York City, and he surprised her at home with a path of candles and rose petals.
When Jack first questions Greg about the circle of trust, he says that nineteen months in a Vietnamese prison made him a patient man. This is a reference to The Deer Hunter (1978), where Robert De Niro's character spends time in a Vietnamese prison camp.
The idea to use a lie detector test came from Robert De Niro while he was researching a role. He read up on polygraphs and presented his findings to Jay Roach at a pre-shoot dinner. "At that point, there was no lie detector scene in the script", Roach told Entertainment Weekly. "But after hearing all this, I thought, 'Oh, this has to be in our movie.' Now it's become the central image of all the ads, the trailers, everything." Jack Byrnes, being ex-C.I.A., was always part of his character since the beginning.
Robert De Niro originally wanted to train the cat himself, but then realized that would take up to about six months of his life. Instead, he would carry kibble in all of his pockets, which helped him enjoy a very cooperative relationship with the animal.
Pam calls Gaylord's parents in Detroit, Michigan. However, in the sequel, they live in Florida. When the Byrnes first arrive to the Fockers' house in Meet the Fockers (2004), Greg's dad states that they moved from Detroit.
Jay Roach was terrified to direct this movie, and was nervous about attempting to sell the project to Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. Stiller thought Roach was only pretending to be nervous. Roach swears he was not. "I don't think it was strategy", Roach told Entertainment Weekly. "I wanted them to know I was terrified. I'm really bad at faking."
When Greg is in the Oyster Bay drugstore with Jack the song "Day by Day" by Godspell can be heard playing in the store in the background. Greg uses the lyrics of that song when he says grace before dinner that evening.
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor did an uncredited re-write of the screenplay. The poem that Robert De Niro reads about his deceased mother was one of their contributions, as was the climactic airport sequence.
When Jack first meets Greg and asks him if he chose the green car color, to which Greg answers no, Jack states that geniuses typically tend to pick green. If you look behind Jack, you will see the shutters of his house are green, implying that Jack either believes himself to be a genius, or he is one. His clothes are also an olive green in the scene.
When Ben Stiller came on-board, the script was retooled. Originally, it had been written for Jim Carrey, so it contained more physical, knockabout comedy. Stiller's style is less physical, so this element in the script was re-written.
The original opening of this movie was too expensive to film. It featured Greg proposing to Pam during a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and failing spectacularly. To save money (the film had a fifty-five million dollar budget), they had Greg's failed proposal take place outside of a school instead.
On July 18, 2005, a regularly scheduled American Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico was diverted back to Fort Lauderdale forty minutes into the flight, after a flight attendant found a crumpled napkin that read "Bomb, bomb, bomb...meet the parents". The airplane was met by a bomb squad of the local Sheriff's office, as well as the F.B.I., whose Agents questioned the plane's one hundred seventy-six passengers about the note this incident likely references the plane scene in which Greg is kicked off the flight for saying the word "bomb".
This movie is actually a remake of Meet the Parents (1992), an independent film. The seventy-five minute short film starred Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke, who also wrote the script. Glienna also directed the film on a budget of about one hundred thousand dollars. Unable to find a distributor for their film, they eventually sold the rights to Universal Pictures.
The scenes at the "Surf and Turf" restaurant were filmed at a Port Washington, New York restaurant called "Louie's". The car racing scenes between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro were also filmed in downtown Port Washington. Also, the scene where Stiller and De Niro go shopping is in Port Washington at Salem Drugs.
In an early scene, Greg (Ben Stiller) and Jack (Robert De Niro) share differing opinions about the theme of the song "Puff the Magic Dragon". In the film's concluding scene, when Jack is watching Greg on his surveillance tapes, "Puff the Magic Dragon" is playing softly in the background.
Second film of Ben Stiller with a character name Norm-the interrogating offficer at the airport, first was, Theres Something About Mary (1998), in which Tucker (fake architect) real name is Norm, a pizza delivery guy (Lee Evans), both characters have a hostile conversation with Stiller's character.