the Parents " on DVD
by Johnny Bray
Theres nothing like a weekend in the country with your girlfriend.
Unless of course youre going to meet her father, who just happens
to be Robert De Niro.
Thats the exact premise behind Meet the Parents, where Greg
Focker (Ben Stiller) spends a weekend with his girlfriends parents.
De Niro is Jack Byrnes, an ex-CIA agent posing as a mild-mannered florist.
Hes the type of father who thinks his daughter is too good for everyone,
so he manages to find something wrong with every guy she brings in the
And of course, it doesnt help that Greg cant do anything
right. All hell breaks loose from day one, with each screw up more disastrous
than the last.
The story is by no means anything new. In fact, its a lot like
the movie Son in Law, except it has two major advantages over it:
1) It doesnt star Pauly Shore, and 2) Its funny.
The two lead roles (Byrnes and Focker) were obviously written for the
actors who play them. Byrnes seems to be a take of every character De
Niro has ever played, and Focker is a take on many of the characters Stiller
So naturally, they play them naturally.
Really, the only problem with the movie is the overuse of the joke on
Gregs last name. Calling him a stupid Focker (and the like) is funny
the first few times (and also when they discover his real name), but it
gets old. Every time Greg screws up, someone makes a crack about his name.
The thing that pleased me the most about the movie was how it didnt
lose its humour at the end like most comedies do. Sure it has a happy
ending and gets all mushy and everything (I hate that), but it makes up
for it with the last two scenes.
The movie is directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers), and written
by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg. You can see the resemblance to Austin
Powers in the fact that its just an all-around silly movie.
In the supporting cast, there are Teri Polo (Pam Byrnes; Gregs
girlfriend), Blythe Danner (Mrs. Byrnes), Owen Wilson (Pams ex-fiancée),
and Jinx (Jacks furry feline friend).
Wilson is his usual scene-stealing self. He has an ability to make anything
funny; maybe its the way he delivers the lines or whatever. It doesnt
really matter. The point is, hes very good.
De Niro however, is such a phenomenal actor that it seems impossible
for him to turn in a lousy performance. Its doubtful that anyone
has had more movie-stealing performances than he. This movie is a perfect
example. He takes over the movie without even trying. Its worth
checking out just to watch him work his magic.
The movie seems to be perfectly cast as a whole, very cleverly written,
and well directed. And its great, cause it works as a date movie,
as well as a non-date movie. Its one of those win-win situations.
Like The Terminator.
If you like silly movies, and enjoy laughing, check this one out.
The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, and
the video quality is very good, indeed. Audio is DTS and Dolby Digital
5.1. Extras include "Spotlight on Location," a feature commentary with
director Roach and editor Jon Poll, and a second commentary track with
cast members de Niro, Stiller, director Roach and producer Rosenthal.
It does't end there. You also get deleted scenes, outtakes, and some
tidbits including a game, "lie detector test," cast/crew info, proeuction
notes, DVD ROM stuff (like screensavers and Windows Wallpaper), and the
Meet the Parents, from Dreamworks Home Video
108 min. widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 compatible, DTS and Dolby Digital
Starring Robert de Niro, Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, James
Produced by Nancy Tenenbaum and Jane Rosenthal, Robert de Niro, Jay Roach
Written by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg, Directed by Jay Roach.
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