Meet the Parents (2000)

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?

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros