|legeros.com > Movie Hell > 2000 > Reviews|
MEET THE PARENTS is a reliably amusing and occasionally outright hi- larious "guess whose coming to dinner?" comedy that pairs ace joke- butt Ben Stiller with great-actor-turning-great-comic-actor Robert DeNiro. The perfectly straightforward plot has Stiller's fianc‚e wannabe trying to impress his sweetie's non-nonsense pop (DeNiro) over one long, increasingly accident-prone weekend. Gutters catch fire, cats get lost, and one septic tank overfloweth. Among other things. (Hey, the shit bit's shown in the preview.) Plus innumer- able faux pas for Stiller's increasingly exasperated character, who can't seem to sustain even a *single* harmonious note with the hu- mor-challenged, highly-skeptical, ex-CIA employed father. Uh-oh's ensue, far fewer, though, than expected. And the oops that *are* there rarely deliver the comic punch that they oughta. Director Jay Roach Clip, of AUSTIN POWERS offenses, demonstrates more awkwardness with the camera than anything else. Like a way-distracting handy- cam. Or all those slightly-too-tight close-ups. Feels "off," of- ten, even if the effect *does* adds to the comic discomfort of the characters. Density's another problem; the story's over-plotted by ten or fifteen minutes. The worst of that baggage be near the end-- a couple serious scenes that occur prematurely. The film's wad is blown early, thus tainting the tone just enough that the *better* serious scenes that come after aren't even *half*-affecting. Sigh. Stick with it, friends, and you still get a great scene of Stiller going nuts on a parked airplane. "Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb." Plus a priceless running gag involving the correct pronunciation of Stiller's character's last name: Focker. Nope, this ain't a movie that's as hilarious as it should be. Nor does it even build toward any sort of climax. But Stiller and DeNiro and notably DeNiro are splendid. That's can't-miss casting... With Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, Nicole DeHuff, Jon Abrahams, James Rebhorn, Phyllis George, and a horribly placed Owen Wilson as a hunky artist. We're supposed to be impressed by that trick nose and clogged sinus-passage voice? (Rated "PG-13"/107 min.) Grade: B Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros
Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Can a Sandler Teaming Be Far Behind?