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Meet The Parents
review by Zach B.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
NOT an average)