This file was generated 2002-10-20 18:07 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-03-23.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> March 2001 >> Meet the Parents
Everyone is equipped with an alarm that tells them when not to believe what they see. I don't know why I restrict the language on my site like I do, but I'd prefer not to mention this alarm by name. I think you know which one I mean. Meet the Parents, as funny as it is, set my alarm off a few times. From the beginning, the movie establishes characters who are at once real and interesting. Seeing the quirks of these folks taken to their logical conclusion should be material enough for abundant laughter. Since the cast is up to the task, this is a nearly sure-fire effort. Unfortunately, there are bouts of physical comedy that don't quite click, and the characters and writing take a backseat to painfully overconstructed sight gags. I was so engaged by the interplay between the characters that I got frustrated when the movie ran headlong into nitpickable territory. The laughs offered by Meet the Parents are enough to overcome the gratuitous silliness, but perfection is just beyond reach.
I'm no longer surprised when Robert De Niro puts in a good performance in a comedy. After King of Comedy, Midnight Run, and Analyze This, his reputation as a comic actor is assured. Here, he's mostly the straight man to Ben Stiller's moderate insanity. The scenes between the two of them are the best in the movie, and the ones that make me think how much more could've been accomplished by the assembled talent. Stiller effectively reprises his role from There's Something About Mary, although he gets to show a wider range of paranoid here. Teri Polo and Blythe Danner both put in good supporting turns, including some exceptional reaction shots.