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MEET THE PARENTS

SYNOPSIS:
Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is madly in love with Pam (Teri Polo) and wants to marry her. But he has to negotiate her parents, especially her dad, Jack (Robert DeNiro), who is an ex- CIA operative with a trained fluffy cat, surveillance devices as a hobby and a penchant for making Pamís suitors scarce. It starts badly when the airline loses his bag on the way to meet the parents, and goes downhill from there.

"If you enjoyed The In-Laws, Father of the Bride and The Out of Towners, you'll love Meet the Parents, a comedic misadventure with tantalising performances and a big heart. With an agile, knowing glint in his eye, Robert De Niro is irresistible as the father with the most Ė er, off-putting persona. De Niro switches into these comedic roles effortlessly and with conviction; life's comedies are always serious. Ben Stiller gets better and better, and here he manages the balance between clown with foot-in-mouth, romantic lead and a poignant, endearing character that we care about, with disarming skill. Blythe Danner is superb as Mum; she has just enough zany-ness to allow us to believe that she and Dad with all his peculiarities are indeed a married couple. We know that everything is going to go wrong, and the script is clever in that it allows us knowingly to be in on the gag. We anticipate the lost luggage, the fire, the broken urn, the leaking sewerage, the fire and the missing pedigree pampered pet before it happens; we are willing it not to happen, but succumb to the inevitable with a giggle. When we meet Jinx, the fluffy Himalayan feline with the saucer-size blue eyes and lemon-pursed mouth, we know that this is cat territory, and that Greg is more at home with dogs. Dad quickly points out: 'People who like dogs are emotionally shallow; cats make you work for your affection and don't sell out like dogs do.' And what a scene stealer is Jinx, this divine fur ball, that purrs like a racing car, waves its paw, sits on the toilet and generally is utterly gorgeous. Admittedly any film that presents cats this way rates well with me, being a fan of the feline species generally. The humour is delightful with slapstick, one liners, farce and even some subtle musical jokes to boot. Deliciously funny and warmly poignant, it's a treat to Meet the Parents."
Louise Keller

"I have to take Louise to task for including The In Laws as a reference for Meet the Parents; The In Laws is a far superior film in every way, so if youíve seen that, this will disappoint. Nothing wrong with Meet the Parents, of course, other than its shallowness and flatness, both results of the Hollywood steam iron smoothing out too many wrinkles. Playing a bit like a one-note samba, Meet the Parents overdoes the elements that could make it great. The father is toooo heavy, the father-daughter greeting is tooo contrived, the daughter is tooo one dimensional middle class American, and the resolution relies on tooo much character improvement. The script is too obvious, the direction a little lacklustre and gives the film a laborious feel, where it should trip along . . . and the performances are playing for laughs. I would have preferred taking a straight, dramatic tone, allowing the irony and the character-driven humour to fizz along. Reservations notwithstanding, the film strikes with a few good moments (blue word plays around Stillerís character name) and is certainly offers mass market appeal. And the catís terrific."
Andrew L. Urban



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See Jenny Cooney Carrillo's interview with
BEN STILLER

Have your SAY

MEET THE PARENTS (PG)
(US)

CAST: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, James Rebhorn, Jon Abrahams, Phyllis George, Thomas McCarthy, Nicole DeHuff and Owen Wilson

DIRECTOR: Jay Roach

PRODUCERS: Nancy Tenenbaum, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Jay Roach

SCRIPT: Jim Herzfeld, John Hamburg (based on story by Greg Glienna & Mary Ruth Clarke)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter James ACS, ASC

EDITOR: Jon Poll

MUSIC: Randy Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rusty James

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: United International Pictures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: December 26, 2000







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