|Serbian subtitles Meet the Parents||2 years ago|
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A modern comedy classic with emotional depth.
8/10 With a hero called Gaylord M. Focker, you might expect this to be a film of snickering silliness. It IS snickeringly silly - the soon-to-be-immortal champagne/urn scene; the cat-milking discussion; the skimpy swimming trunks; the volleyball bloodbath; the flushing cat; the wooden altar conflagration; the septic tank spray etc.; all good, healthy, daft, slapstick, prurient, scatalogical stuff. And while I in no way condone Greg's vile rage directed at the air-stewardess, it is very funny.2 years ago
But, 'Meet the Parents' has the emotional truths that turn it from being merely a funny film into a comedy classic. Anyone who has ever been married or about to will recognise the horrible accuracy of this film. My own father-in-law is remarkably like Jack Byrnes here; not that he is an ex-CIA spycatcher (at least, I don't think so); but in his ability to intimidate, humiliate, terrorise, impose his power.
My point is that Jack's profession is only a comic exaggeration of what all fathers- or mothers-in-law are like, figures terrified of losing their children, defending them like animals in the wild, convinced that a prospective so-and-so will never be good enough for our baby, not even thinking that neither might they have been; refusing to admit they are getting old, that they are losing power and control.
It's only logical that the monster in-law from hell should be obsessive about power and control. His domestic panopticon is a superb metaphor for extended family life, the idea of being judged, marked on 'success' or 'suitability' ratings, your every personal, financial, health etc. problem a
matter for family investigation. Bitter, moi? Greg should be lucky Jack isn't married to Monica Geller's mom.
But the film doesn't simplistically pit Capraesque good guy Greg against shady CIA man Jack. If Jack is all about control, then so is Greg. The film has one of the best musical openings in recent memory ('if you're gentle and sweet, you're an idiot...'), but the opening montage is more sinister, as a faceless cameraman takes home movies of a pretty blonde. Pam is the true victim of this film, the prize in a macho battle of wits, the female bystander in the great masculine generational conflict, as Jack proves he's not past it, and Greg proves he's not a loser. Those voyeuristic home movies echo Jack's surveillance cameras and perform the same function, to watch, to control, to limit (just as Kevin remembers Pam by his photographs and his erotic memories).
One is heartened by the ironies of the ending, not just Jack breaking his word, determined to keep up his power games as he watches his CCTV's filming the most private places, where people are at their most vulnerable and exposed (revealing, truthfully, that the in-law struggle never ends)
The film also has some cutting things to say about the lingering anti-semitism in WASPish society; nothing much has changed since 'Auntie Mame'.
It is wonderful to see Robert de Niro finally getting a decent comedy. He has always been hilarious in 'straight' roles ('Mean Streets', 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull' etc.), but his comic vehicles have spluttered to a halt. He is genius here, his menace, his gestures, facial contortions, way of throwing out a line like he's garrotting it - bliss. If 'Parents' finally lacks the pull of a film like 'There's Something About Mary', then it's probably the nature of the plot. 'Mary' had an active plot, it was a quest, necessitating narrative and character development, and thus more audience commitment. 'Parents' is purely destructive, as Jack tries to destroy a love that's already been built up. Sadly, this scenario is much truer.
One of the funniest comedies of the year, De Niro and Stiller make the perfect comedy pair. *** (out of four)
7/10 MEET THE PARENTS / (2000) *** (out of four)2 years ago
By Blake French:
The main character in "Meet The Parents" is a Chicago-based male nurse, Greg Focker (pronounced just how it is spelled) who realizes how unlucky a person can be. He is about to propose to his schoolteacher girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo), when her sister Debbie (Nicole Dehuff) calls and explains that her new fiance, Dr. Bob Banks (Tom McCarthy), received a blessing from her father before he asked the question. This information makes Greg reconsider his method of choice, and instead jumps at the opportunity to meet Pam's overprotective parents when they fly to the east coast two weeks later to arrange Debbie's wedding.
At the airport, the attendants loose Greg's parcels. Thus he arrives without any luggage. Once at Pam's parent's house, they exchange greetings and aquatint themselves with each other. Pam's parents, Jack and Dina Byrnes (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner) learn about Greg's unusual last name, that he does not like cats, and is a male nurse, all facts that do not settle well with Pam's father. Greg does manage to gift Jack with a pleasant supply of rare flowers. However, even though Pam explained to Greg that her dad is in the hobby of rare flowers, he does not seem too impressed.
Even More complications ensue, especially when Greg learns of Jack's peculiar behaviors and suspicious gadgets, such as a polygraph and hidden cameras placed in every room of the house, as well as meeting Pam's brother, Denny (Jon Abrahams), and Debbie's soon to be in laws, Larry (James Rebhorn), and Linda Banks (Phillis George), and Pam's wealthy ex-fiancee, Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson). Soon, Greg's chances of receiving Jack's permission to wed his daughter become less and less probable as his bad luck only manages to increase.
The film introduces Greg and Pam with silly quirks that come up later in the story. Pam's parents are also quite the treat; the movie does not go over the top but portrays them with serious humor and charismatic wit. It is De Niro and Stiller who make the movie, however. They form an very effective comedic chemistry, even more amusing than the likable shtick between De Niro and Billy Crystal in "Analyze This." The filmmakers take advantage of the phenomenal tension between Greg and Jack, and place them in one hilarious situation after another.
While outrageous and at times explosively funny, director Jay Roach takes the plot seriously. His previous films, including the Austin Powers films and "Mystery, Alaska," have had trouble with taking anything seriously. But "Meet The Parents" has emotional connections, develops solid empathy for Greg, and we really believe he has something precious that can be lost: Pam.
The movie does not completely develop romantic chemistry between Ben Stiller and Teri Polo, thus there were times when I simply did not believe the two were really in love. The relationship sometimes feels trite and contrived. There are also important plot nuggets left only partially examined: Jack's pot-head son, who could have contributed a lot more to the drug related material, is left as a plot device to provide another string of conflicts within Jack and Greg.
I really enjoyed the whimsical performances and opportune casting. Ben Stiller reprises his "There's Something About Mary" role, with cute charm and the obscured zany flippancy. Robert De Niro is perfect in a role he was born to play, with serious attitude that results in the main portion of the film's funny moments. Blythe Danner is also charming in a kind of role that is becoming all too usual for her.
"Meet the Parents" is one of the funniest movies of the year. It gives audiences with a solid story that does not interfere with the comic material, but contributes to it. The top notch performances and lively direction also raise the film to a higher level. During a year in which effective comedies are an endangered species, "Meet The Parents" is a landmark achievement in light entertainment.
Get Ready to Laugh!
10/10 Meet the Parents is one of the funniest films this decade and it is not a spoof. I was laughing so hard, soda came bursting out of my nose. Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller did such an amazing job. I was not bored of this movie at all. Gaylord Focker and his girlfriend, Pam are set to become engaged. But to do so, they must travel to Pam's parents. It turns out that Pam's father, Jack is a CIA agent and dislikes Gaylord a lot. Gaylord did many hilarious things which includes losing a rare cat. The ironic thing is that Pam's sister got engaged and will be married....when and if Gaylord can get his act together. The acting is wonderful. You usually don't see De Niro doing movies like this. He did absolutely amazing. Ben Stiller did just as good. If you want to see this movie, get ready to laugh. This movie is full of laughs! I rate this movie 10/10.2 years ago
8/10 Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is a male nurse, poised to propose to the woman he loves, Pam (Teri Polo) but the right thing to do would be to ask her father's permission first. During a weekend of getting to know them, he manages to make a strong impression; for all the wrong reasons. Her father (Robert De Niro) isn't quite what Greg has been led to believe, and right from the start he seems to have it in for his daughter's partner.2 years ago
De Niro and Stiller play off each other brilliantly, and both of them give fine comic performances, with a surprising level of depth for comedy characters. This film is packed with slick gags, hilarious scenes and it has a really fun story; it's a comedy film that you don't want to miss.
Very funny - but the real strength of the film is being able to relate to the characters
9/10 Our story begins when a male nurse named Greg Focker (Stiller) is about to propose to his girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo); unfortunately, things come to worst and before Greg can say, "Will you marry me?" he finds out that Pam's father, Jack (Robert De Niro) approved of Pam's sister's fiance because he asked Jack's permission to marry her first. Taken aback, Greg decides to wait until tomorrow, whence they are going to meet Pam's parents, and ask Jack for approval before proposing to Pam. Should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. Pam's mother (Blythe Danner) is very nice, but herein lies the problem: Not only is it apparent from the start that Pam's plant-expert father is not really a plant-expert (as Greg learns after Jack doesn't seem to recognize a plant Greg gives to him--one of the rarest plants in the world), but it turns out Jack is really in the CIA and was a "human lie detector," as Pam herself puts it. In fact, Jack even gives Greg a lie detector test in one scene to see if he liked the dinner earlier in the evening. "Yes," Greg replies, to see the needle jumping. "Well, it was a little rare for my tastes, maybe." Greg, desperately seeking approval (and nervous as ever), seems to unintentionally cause mayhem in his possible parents-to-be's home. Nerves shot like a drug addict, Greg is the definition of a nervous wreck, and all his problems seem to escalate more and more until a funny-if-sappy comedic showdown.2 years ago
You know how sometimes you are really nervous, but try to hide the fact? You seem to keep your cool, until you do something, then all your nervousness explodes and you start knocking over things, saying stupid things--single-handedly DOING stupid things that you just never do? And then you look around and everyone is looking at you like you are some sort of freak? Well, that's how it is with Greg's character in "Meet the Parents"--he is so easy to identify with. Just like all of us, we want to keep our cool and impress people--but once we lose it, the coolness seems to slip farther and farther away from our grip until we are klutzes on feet. For Greg's character, small things turn bigger and bigger and bigger--from knocking over the remains of Jack's mother (and having a cat go to the bathroom on the remains), to setting the house on fire and busting the septic tank. Situations seem to escalate farther and farther out of control and they just keep getting worse and worse.
In one scene, Greg tries to impress everyone while playing volleyball in a pool. His team is losing because of him. "Get up and hit the ball," Jack says to him. So the next time the ball comes around to Greg, he jumps up and smacks the ball with all his might, sending it flying towards...Pam's sister (whose wedding is the next day), shattering her nose. Greg lands back in the pool and seems to be happy, until he realizes he smacked his sister-in-law-to-be in the nose. Then everyone looks at him like he's an insensitive idiot.
Things like that have happened to me countless times, and that is why I can so easily identify with Greg. People are yelling at Greg to do something, and when he finally does it, it backfires and everyone looks at him like he's stupid, even though he did exactly what he was told.
That's the kind of thing that makes this movie so great--not only is it extremely funny, but we can easily identify with the main character countless times throughout the film. That is, perhaps, the best thing about this comedy.