it on purpose. And sitting in the movie theater watching "Meet
The Parents," it becomes painfully obvious that the
"cringe" is back, and in full force.
that little cringe. That little head-ducking-behind-the-hand
movement that most people with feelings make when they know someone,
on the TV screen or otherwise, is about to make a huge fool out of
themselves, and they can't bear to watch it. You've probably
unknowingly caused the very same reaction in an ungodly number of
people. Or maybe you
Stiller is arguably one of the funniest comedic actors in Hollywood
right now, and he has more than made his mark in such box office hits
as "Mystery Men," and "There's Something About
Mary." Once again called on to act in a role that will make
Americans look and say "Gee, I thought I was a screw-up,"
Stiller comes through with flying colors. His role as Greg Focker
(pronounced just like it sounds) is easily one of the funniest
performances in recent years.
rest of the acting isn't bad either, with Robert DeNiro ("The
Godfather," "Analyze This") showing yet another side
of himself while playing Jack Byrnes, the father who decides to
interrogate Focker thoroughly while acting very mysteriously himself.
Also turning in good performances are Teri Polo ("Sports
Night," "Felicity") as Focker's girlfriend, Pam, and
Owen Wilson ("Armageddon," "Shanghai Noon") as
"Meet The Parents" was not a great movie. It wasn't even a
good movie. It was simply an "okay" movie . . . a last
resort way of passing a rainy day. The problem was not the acting,
but the script. The basic storyline of a guy agreeing to meet his
girlfriend's parents, and then being interrogated and tested to the
point of insanity, is a sound one. But as the movie progresses, one
wonders how many times Focker can humiliate himself and still have
the dignity to stick around. The previews show you Focker setting the
entire yard on fire, and miserably failing a lie detector test; what
they don't show you is about seven other ways that Focker embarrasses
that, if you couldn't figure out just from the previews how this
movie would turn out, you need to turn in your AMC Moviewatcher card,
because you are hereby banned from ever setting foot inside a movie
theater again. Normally this wouldn't have been such a bad thing, but
it took so long, and so many Ben Stiller screw-ups, to get to the end
that you almost wanted to get up and leave before it got there.
to move on to something else, but the characters never did.
problem the movie had was redundancy. The obvious resemblance
between Greg's last name and a certain expletive was funny the first
few times it was mentioned, but after about the 40th time, it got
old, as did the male nurse-bashing. It was funny, sure, but after
successfully beating the horse a few times, it was
DeNiro (left) and Ben Stiller (right) star in "Meet the Parents)
in all, the acting really wasn't that bad. DeNiro never disappoints,
and Wilson is quickly becoming a key supporting actor without whom
the movie wouldn't be complete. Not to mention that two hours of Ben
Stiller will always send you home rolling. But the script and plot
development were so bad that they more than offset the good acting
performances. In the end, when the credits rolled, all you could do
while walking out to your car was, well . . . cringe.