Retro Review: Meet the Parents

Written: October 2, 2000

“Meet the Parents” stars Ben Stiller as Greg Focker, a bewildered boyfriend who follows his girlfriend, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) home to meet her parents as they prepare for Pam’s sister’s wedding. Unbeknownst to Stiller are the secrets to the Byrnes family circle. Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner star as Pam’s parents.

“Meet the Parents” is one of the funniest movies I have seen since “There’s Something About Mary”. This film will make you howl with delight as Stiller still has the charisma, bubbling chemistry and slapstick humor he perfected in Mary. Remember the dog scene in Mary, well this time we have a cat. Stiller is amazing.

I loved this movie. DeNiro is great as the straight man who makes Stiller nervous as heck. The writer and director of this film could have really goofed up serious side of DeNiro but we have enough here to let the comedic element flow. You know in some films the serious character is so domineering and straight that it really dampers the comedic timing. Well in “Parents” its perfect and gives Stiller a lot of time to breathe.

Another aspect I really liked of “Parents” was the setting up of the gags. I liked that you kept guessing what was going to happen and often you were right but the pay off was always worth the time. This movie is brilliantly written and couple with the comedic timing of the cast makes it a gem in the rough.

A small fault can be uncovered during certain parts leading into the last 15 minutes. The majority of this fault surround the coming conclusion and the stiffness of the DeNiro character. This is where the film tries to arrives they at a Hollywood ending which seems to be a little pushed and convenient.

The film was so very original from beginning to end that the finale this way seems a little clichéd. I would have loved to see a more original and interesting development in the DeNiro’s character towards the end.

I believe the film needed a better fleshing out of DeNiro’s acceptance and heart. DeNiro isn’t a clown and maybe that’s what was the problem. I remember a similar set of problems in “Mickey Blue Eyes”, where the mob people were just to domineering to really accept a happy ending.

All in all “Parents” is definitely one of the best comedies of the year.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.


One thought on “Retro Review: Meet the Parents

  1. I think what kills “Meet the Parents” for me is Teri Polo. She’s such a dud of an actress — pretty enough, but no personality, no particular range. If they’d paired Ben with his real-life wife, Christine Taylor, or maybe, say, Christina Applegate, we’d be in business.

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