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Meet the Parents (2000)

First comes love. Then comes the interrogation.

Directed by:

Jay Roach

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 108 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

‘Meet the Parents’ is one of an increasingly tiresome line of Robert De Niro movies in which he attempts to parody his own image as one of Hollywood’s hard men. It’s also yet another example of Ben Stiller playing basically the same character as he does in half a dozen other films – a guy who bungles his way through life and permanently feels awkward, but who’s also cripplingly warm-hearted and eager to please. But, more significantly than any of that, it’s one of the occasions where both of those instantly-recognisable characters work incredibly well.

Stiller plays the unfortunately-named Greg Focker, a male nurse who’s head-over-heels in love with girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo). He’s decided it’s time to pop the question, but thinks it might be a nice idea to ask her dad’s permission first – so, as the title suggests, off the pair of them go to “meet the parents”.

Of course, what should be a perfectly pleasant weekend at her folk’s house soon turns into an out-and-out nightmare. Daddykins (De Niro) takes an instant dislike to our Greg and, being an ex-CIA man-in-black, is determined to use everything at his disposal (including some particularly intimidating polygraph equipment) to interfere, dig for dirt, and generally make his house-guest’s stay as uncomfortable as possible.

Based on a short film written way back in 1992 by Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke, ‘Meet the Parents’ has to go down as one of the best comedies of 2000. Although not possessing a great range of comic dialogue, it generates laughs through Greg’s increasing feelings of embarrassment and exasperation – and, though the premise may at first feel like it’s going to be a one-trick pony, there’s enough going on to keep the standard consistently high.

It's Got: A nice idea for anyone who fancies changing the colour of their cat’s fur.

It Needs: Not to flush the downstairs toilet under any circumstances.

DVD Extras A behind-the-scenes featurette, a choice of two different audio commentaries, some deleted scenes, out-takes, and a couple of trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Along Came Polly, Meet the Fockers, Our House, There's Something About Mary

Summary

Plenty of chortles to be had in this archetypal Ben Stiller comedy which proves once and for all that you can choose your friends, but not their relatives.

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