Volume 94, Issue 24
Thursday, October 12, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
DeNiro is devil dad
Photo by Phillip V. Caruso
YOU CAN SHAKE MY HAND, BUT KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY FAMILY'S PUSSY. Robert De Niro keeps Ben Stiller at arm's length in the comedy, Meet the Parents.
Meet The Parents
Starring: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller
Directed By: Jay Roach
By Tara Dermastja
It's been said that meeting the parents has been the downfall of many couples.
True love becomes pure hate, eternity becomes too long, engagement rings are returned and relationships are destroyed. Meet The Parents does an entertaining job of explaining why.
Meet Greg Focker, a kind-hearted male nurse with a horrible last name who is ready to propose to Pam, the love of his life. Now meet her father, Jack Byrnes, an overprotective ex-CIA agent. He has never and will never accept anyone she brings home to the family and is intent on making sure it stays that way. Put the two together for a weekend at the Byrnes' house and Meet The Parents becomes Meet the Devil.
From the moment the men are introduced, trouble strikes. Simple misunderstandings grow into extraordinary mishaps as both father and boyfriend fight for Pam's trust. In the eyes of Byrnes, Focker moves from an innocent boyfriend to a pothead who should not be allowed in "the circle of trust." Throw in a potty-trained cat, appetizers named poo-poos and some high-and-mighty relatives and the movie jumps from an excuse to get out of Thanksgiving dinner, to a potential box-office smash.
Focker is played by Ben Stiller, the comic genius who took There's Something About Mary to the highest level of obscenity. Stiller's natural ability to play the pitied fool once again wins audiences over with his quirky, unintentionally moronic habits and adorable confusion.
Stiller is joined by Robert De Niro, whose recent escapades away from more serious roles have landed him some lighter yet equally capable scripts. De Niro, successful in his transition, allows viewers to despise yet understand Byrnes' actions as a caring father who only wants the best for his little girl.
Rounding out the cast are Teri Polo as the naive daughter and Blythe Danner as her flaky but lovable mother. Add Owen Wilson as Pam's amazingly perfect and still available ex-fiancee and Pam's sister Deb (Nicole Dehuff) with her soon-to-be husband Dr. Bob (Tom McCarthy). The list goes on, with each additional character providing just enough attitude to make Focker's weekend a trip into hell.
As with many movies nowadays, Meet The Parents is actually a remake (in this case, of a 1992 film of the same name). However, director Jay Roach (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) does an excellent job of creating the ultimate laughfest.
Aside from rare moments of awkwardness, Meet The Parents is the perfect dessert for any turkey dinner. In fact, it may prove reality is not so bad after all. Refreshing and constantly amusing, the film helps audiences see the good in everyone, as long as they pass those darn lie-detector tests.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000