Meet the Parents
Reviewed by: Halyna Barannik
1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release:
October 6, 2000 (wide)
Lying in the Bible
Brides in the Bible
Marriage in the Bible
Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
GUIDELINES—What are the biblical guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
“He finally met the girl of his dreams. Too bad her dad’s a nightmare.”
“Meet the Parents” has been the hit that it has been at theaters because it is a truly funny movie. It is chock full of comedy that has roots in slapstick, where what can go wrong does go wrong, and where people make fools of themselves and survive to smile about it.
The lead is played by Ben Stiller, who stars as Greg Focker, the boyfriend who wants to pop the question to his girlfriend, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) but decides he should ask permission first from her father, Jack (Robert De Niro). Blythe Danner plays Dina, Pam’s youthful and cordial mother.
The strength of the film lies in Stiller’s controlled and skillful acting of today’s cool, but sensitive kind of guy who works as a male nurse and wants to be respected. When Greg and Pam go to meet her parents, he goes all out to please. He gets the gift that he thinks is appropriate for the father, who Greg believes works with plants and is now retired. The gift fails to please as Jack doesn’t care much for the dormant bulb. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong. The humor stems from all the mistakes, stumbles, and mishaps, played to perfection by this team of actors.
The script focuses keenly and precisely on the relationship between Greg and Jack as the father tests this boyfriend in every possible way, including the administration of a lie detector test (which he happens to have in his basement). Yes, there are morally questionable, even objectionable, themes, like the apparent pre-marital affair between Greg and Pam, but it is not a focal point, and DeNiro’s obvious objection to the sexual nature of this relationship is quite loud. There is also the extensive exploitation for laughs of Greg’s last name.
This movie is definitely only for a mature audience, because of the sexual elements mentioned above. However, the absurdity of the mishaps, which are scripted with impeccable timing, makes the movie entirely humorous, with not a dull moment. Taken as a whole, the movie succeeds as good comedy. It, also, has some positive messages, namely, Greg’s wish to do right despite all adversity, and Jack’s best wishes for his daughter and his ultimate concern for her welfare. It is unfortunate that there are some immoral elements, but they are overshadowed by the comedy.
Reviews of other films in this series: