Movie Mania #15…Meet the Parents
Thursday, April 04 2013 @ 11:30 PM CDT
“I was scared of your dad back when I thought he was a florist. It’s wonderful to know that I’ve actually got a CIA spy hunter on my ass. ” Hello and welcome back to “Movie Mania”, exclusive to the awesome Pop Culture Network. Today I am going to be taking a look at one of my favorite Ben Stiller movies, Meet the Parents. I can still remember going to see this in the theatre and laughing throughout the whole movie. If you thought meeting your girlfriend’s parents was rough, think about what poor Greg had to go through. So kick back, relax and join me for a look at this hilarious movie classic.
Read the rest of Movie Mania #15…Meet the Parents
Meet the Parents was released on October 6, 2000 by Universal Pictures and was directed by Jay Roach. Apparently Steven Spielberg was interested in directing the movie but ultimately stepped away from the project. Honestly, this is not a Steven Spielberg type of film, at least in my opinion. Meet the Parents is actually a remake of a 1992 film of the same name. I never saw the film but after doing a little research on it I would like to, if only to make comparisons.
Meet the Parents follows the story of Gaylord “Greg” Focker, a male nurse, and his first encounter with his girlfriend Pam’s parents. Greg intends to propose to Pam in the beginning of the movie but quickly learns, thanks to Pam’s sister, that Pam’s father is an old fashioned man that would appreciate being asked permission before asking his daughter to get married. Greg and Pam, unaware of Greg’s proposal intentions, soon leave Detroit for Oyster Bay on Long Island in New York where Pam’s parents live. The trip is multipurpose as Pam wants Greg to meet her beloved parents and they need to attend Pam’s sister’s wedding. Debbie’s wedding gives Greg the perfect opportunity to meet Pam’s parents and to ask her father for permission to marry her. This perfect opportunity does not go as planned. Once they arrive at the house Greg gets much more than he bargained for. Jack Byrnes, Pam’s father, is even more old fashioned and old school than Greg thought and is quite skeptical of Greg and his intentions, which only grows as Greg makes mistake after mistake. Jack is also not particularly fond of the fact that Greg’s last name is Focker, that he is a male nurse and that he is Jewish. As a result, he often makes subtle fun of Greg for those “flaws”, as he sees them, and is quick to announce them all to everyone that Greg meets over the course of his stay. He even continuously refers to Greg simply as Focker.
Greg is ultimately terrified by Jack, who conducts a truth test on Greg and constantly asks him if he watches pornography and if he smokes marijuana. Greg becomes even more afraid of Jack when Pam reveals that Jack was never a florist, which Greg believed him to be, but was in fact a CIA agent that was used to interrogate suspected double agents. This along with the cultural differences between Jack and Greg only further strain the already weak relationship between the two. In the midst of all of the problems with Jack Greg also has to deal with: Pam’s brother Denny, who accidentally gets Greg in a great deal of trouble, Pam’s sister Debbie and her future husband’s family who support Jack , Pam’s ex-boyfriend Kevin and Pam’s mother, Dina, who actually serves as a voice of reason between Jack and Greg.
Eventually, Greg makes so many mistakes and so many unfortunate things happen to him that he is forced to leave and go back to Detroit. It is at that point that Jack learns that Pam truly loves Greg and that he must set things right for his daughter’s happiness. Jack catches up to Greg at the airport and the two strike a compromise ultimately leading to Jack giving his permission for Greg to ask Pam to marry him. Pam is overjoyed by Greg’s proposal and says yes and the final scene is Debbie’s wedding day, where everybody is happy and getting along. And so they lived happily ever after with no more problems, right? Well not exactly, there are two sequels after all.
Meet the Parents has some of the funniest scenes to ever be shown on the big screen. And although it is a comedy, it also has a very serious plot that many people can relate to, although hopefully not to that extreme. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro deliver amazing performances and work incredibly well off of one another. They are also among my favorite actors and I love seeing them together in this movie. There are a lot of practical issues that do come up when someone meets their potential in-laws and that is part of what makes this movie so authentic and believable and is also what makes it so funny. Ultimately, it points out the ridiculousness of the whole “meeting the parents” process and sheds light on the fact that we often judge people for what they are on the outside as opposed to what they are on the inside, a lesson Jack struggles to learn throughout the movie but ultimately comes to accept. Meet the Parents is the type of movie that you can watch over and over again and still enjoy and I have no problem popping it in the DVD player every so often and letting the laughs roll as Greg “meets the parents”.
Cast of Characters
Robert De Niro- Jack Byrnes
Ben Stiller- Gaylord “Greg” Focker
Teri Polo- Pam Byrnes
Blythe Danner- Dina Byrnes
Nicole DeHuff- Deborah Byrnes
Owen Wilson- Kevin Rawley
Jon Abrahams- Denny Byrnes
James Rebhorn- Dr. Larry Banks
Thomas McCarthy- Dr. Bob Banks
Phyllis George- Linda Banks
That will do it for this “Movie Mania” article. Please check back every Thursday for new and exciting articles, only on the Pop Culture Network. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me at Nick@PopCultureNetwork.com. Also be sure to check out our free forums at www.jointheforums.com and our store at www.shoppcn.com. Thank you for reading!
I would like to take a quick moment to remember Roger Ebert who died April 4, 2013. Ebert was a legendary film critic, journalist and screenwriter who wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times and who was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. I always looked at what Roger Ebert had to say about a film before I went to see it and I will miss having that along with his film ratings. He will be greatly missed.
I’ll catch you guys next time!