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Meet The Parents
Collector's Edition

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Universal

Running Time: 108 minutes

Starring Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Jon Abrahams and Owen Wilson

Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg
Story by Gregg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke

Directed by Jay Roach

Retail Price: $26.99

Features: Commentary with Director Jay Roach and Editor Jon Poll, Commentary with Jay Roach, Producer Jane Rosenthal, Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller, Spotlight On Location Featurette, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary, Outtakes, Lie Detector Test, Forcaster Game, Production Notes, Cast and Crew Bios (with Film Highlights), Theatrical Trailer, DVD-ROM: Games, Wallpaper, Screen Saver

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (20 Chapters)

Male nurse Ben Focker just wants to marry his longtime girlfriend Pam, a teacher, but when he's about to propose to her, she gets a call from her sister and realizes that he must first ask her parents for permission. So, Ben and Pam decied to take a visit to her parents, in what seems like the weekend from hell in "Meet The Parents". I'd like to go into the plot more, and I'm sure a lot of you have seen it by now, but for those who haven't, I'll stop. I'll simply say though it gets crazier and crazier, as well as wackier and wackier. This screwball comedy sets off a chain reaction as one thing leads to another.

I saw "Meet The Parents" in theaters and I enjoyed it then, and while I didn't laugh as loud as others in the theater, I still thought it was funny. However, I did enjoy it a bit more on DVD for some reason. Still, it's no surprise why this movie was so successful: it had great reviews, good word of mouth through a sneak preview before the opening and people love the likes of Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller. Plus, being a comedy didn't hurt either.

A lot of the jokes are visual, others aren't, but they're all pretty funny. While nothing is really new, what you haven't heard or seen before, what makes it all work is that all the performers have great comic timing. I'm a big Ben Stiller fan and I think he's great in everything, but many people don't realize Robert DeNiro is a great comic actor, not just a great dramatic actor. "Analyze This" was a huge hit for him and showed his comedy skills well, and "Meet The Parents" just shows them off further. Stiller and DeNiro have excellent chemistry and play off each other very well, it's really what makes the movie so enjoyable. While DeNiro and Stiller do stand out (and I thought Owen Wilson did a good job in a smaller performance), all of the actors are really good and fit their parts well.

But I did mention that nothing is new, which is why I think this movie is a little overrated. I see why people liked it, but I was expecting to laugh a little harder. Things were funny, but I thought they could have been funnier.

Still, the movie has a very nice pace and is even, and besides the comedy aspect of it, as well as the predicibility, there's a sweetness to it. How one guy just wants to be accepted into his girlfriend's family, into the family of the girl he loves and cares for tremendously. While Greg Focker isn't perfect and is often the target of being the victim, there is a sense of vulnerbility and sweetness to him that Stiller captures and acts out perfectly. I'm pretty sure we can all relate to Greg somehow, where we wanted to fit in really bad and during our attempts, with the best of intentions, we screwed up along the way.

Of course, since this movie held on to the top ten for a long time and grossed 160 million, a sequel is in the works as I write this. "Meet The Fockers" will have Stiller, DeNiro and the crew meet Greg Focker's parents. But that's way off... strikes are still pending and Roach is going to be doing "Austin Powers 3" first.

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Meet The Parents" has a pretty decent transfer. Detail is pretty good, however, there is a good amount of dirt and grain, plus a scratch here and there. There is some shimmering too that is pretty noticeable in some scenes. Some colors look pretty bold and good, others, aren't saturated to the best of their ability, and I feel the image is pretty soft and not as sharp as other Universal transfers. The picture gains some sharpness and contrast throughout it, but this would have been a near perfect transfer if it was consistent. Still, it's very watchable, I was just hoping for something a little better.

"Meet The Parents" has Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes, and while comedy mixes often tend to be lacking, "Meet The Parents" is very strong. Directional effects are good as well as surrounds. The thing is that there's a lot of good action in the movie (the house fire and some crashes to name a few) to light up the channels. Randy Newman's light score and the additional music also makes uses of the channels nicely. The sound is crystal clear and easy to understand in each track. Each track is also well balanced, and between the Dolby Digital and DTS, it's really too close to call. There's not much difference. They're both about the same. English subtitles are included as well as a French 5.1 track.

Universal has put together another fine Collector's Edition (you'd have to be crazy not to considering the success of this movie). First off is a Commentary With Jay Roach and Jon Poll. I enjoyed Roach on the "Austin Powers" movies commentaries, and I liked this one too. I was also interested in what Poll had to say, because "Meet The Parents" has a great editing style. Roach does most of the talking, but he is pretty insightful and has a lot to share about the production (Poll does too). Believe it or not, a movie like "Meet The Parents" is a lot harder to make than one would think. Don't skip this track.

A second Commentary Track With Jay Roach, Jane Rosenthal, Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller is also included. I'm surprised DeNiro is on the track, considering the fact he doesn't like to do press things (but he was on "Analyze This"). Comments aren't always screen specific, but Stiller, like always, is pretty funny and a joy to hear, and Roach pretty much leads the track. Rosenthal and DeNiro don't talk as much (Roach tries to get them involved more), but they do talk a good amount. When they do, their comments are worth taking note of and welcome. It's well rounded track for a well rounded movie.

Spotlight On Location, Univerisal's usual making of, lasts a good twenty-four minutes and is pretty decent. It's sort of fluffy, but has a good array of interviews with Roach, Stiller, Teri Polo, Rosenthal, Blythe Danner, James Rebhorn, Thomas McCarthy, Jon Abrahams and even DeNiro, just to name some. Clips from the film are shown as well as some behind the scenes info. You get a good idea of the tone of the cast, their thoughts and what it was like making the film. Yes, it's pretty promotional, and seems a little overdone and forced, but a pretty decent watch.

Two Deleted Scenes that don't add up to much and are short can be viewed, with optional commentary from Roach and Poll. They give their thoughts and the cuts, but the scenes are fun to watch. They're in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound.

Outtakes last a solid twelve minutes and are in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. Some of these are just plain stupid and others are pretty funny. DeNiro seems to be having a good time screwing up. Good for a watch.

Lie Detector Test is one of the most stupidest DVD games I've seen. You take a few yes or no questions that relate to the movie, and your final output is a stupid phrase that you could have assumed in the first place.

The Forecaster is another game, but instead of yes or no, it's multiple choice. It also deals with scenes from the movie. The final result, like the Lie Detector game, the final output is stupid. Avoid this one too.

The Theatrical Trailer is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1, there's some nicely laid out and interesting Production Notes (there are some different notes in the keep case insert too) plus some nice and simple Cast and Crew Bios.

As far DVD-ROM, you can get the Universal DVD newsletter, as well as some screen savers, games and wallpaper for your computer.

There's also some promotional items to be found. A promo advertising their theme park is offered with a special deal at the end, and trailers for "The Mummy Returns" and "Captain Cordelli's Mandolin", each in non-anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital (each sound great and are quite wide).

I also think I should mention the menu, which uses some of the movie's best moments as transistions. The menus are easy to navigate with nice layouts and designs too.

This is a movie you'll probably want to watch over and over, and still get a kick out of it every time. Considering the success and how mainstream this movie was, I'm sure nearly everyone will have it in their library. With good audio and video, plus a nice selection of extras, "Meet The Parents" is a good comedy that's worth it in the end.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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