Terms of use l Contact us l Staff



"Meet the Parents"...

The cringe is back

It's 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

did 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.

Ben 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.

The 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 Pam's ex-fiancee.

However, "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 himself.

Besides 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.

Another 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

Robert DeNiro (left) and Ben Stiller (right) star in "Meet the Parents)

time to move on to something else, but the characters never did.

All 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.


Back to top


This Issue!!

In The Mix
Weekly Features
Ask Rina

Got a comment on
our content, or have questions?

Contact Us

Past FLIX reviews

Tao of Steve
The Watcher
Bless The Child
Almost Famous

© 2000 by PEP3 Entertainment – – All Rights Reserved