Fresh from a lackluster summer full of sophomoric films, I was quite happy to have found myself in the theatre watching a sneak preview of the Universal/Dreamworks picture Meet the Parents.
I remember the weekend that I first met my husband's parents. Joe and I were not even engaged yet. I spent the entire weekend stressed and worried that I'd offend them (they're Jewish and it was Passover weekend) or make an idiot of myself.
I need not have worried. In the movie Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller's character, Greg Focker (yes, that *is* his last name) breaks all previously held records for making an ass of one's self and sets new, unattainable ones, albeit, through not much fault of his own.
The premise of this movie is simple. Greg wants to marry his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (played by Teri Polo). However, he has yet to meet her family. Pam's sister Debbie is getting married and so Greg goes along, wanting to ask the father's permission since that is what Jack (Pam's father) would expect.
Greg even packs a gorgeous two Carat ring in his carry-on. Unfortunately, his bag is deemed too big and it must be checked. You *know* at this point that they WILL lose his bag. What you don't know is all the ensuing comedy that will stem from this one incident.
The humor in this film reminds me of the TV show Seinfeld. It all connects. Jerry loses luggage. However, in this luggage is something that Kramer put in there that will cause...yada yada yada....which has a domino effect and POW! The audience is loving it.
As was the audience that saw this sneak preview. There were many times when the movie could not be heard because people were *still* laughing over the last hilarious scene. They didn't give you time to catch your breath. People were laughing like I haven't heard people laugh in a theatre in a long, long time. Big, gigantic, full body laughs. I know, because I was one of them.
Greg and Pam, sans Greg's luggage (which was lost) arrive and "Meet the Parents." Robert De Niro plays Jack Byrnes, Pam's ex CIA interrogator father who Greg thinks is a retired rare flower dealer. Pam's mother is played with the appropriate level of ditzy dryness by Blythe Danner.
Pam hurriedly tells Greg to get rid of his cigarettes because her father thinks smoking is a sign of weakness. The cigarettes are thrown to the roof. Don't forget about those, because later, they'll be the falling domino for future scenes that you will LOVE. Our audience was losing it.
The supporting characters here are well cast. Owen Wilson has a great turn as Pam's ex, Kevin. Kevin is *everything* that Greg is not, and Pam's dad doesn't hesitate to remind everyone of that fact non-stop. I haven't laughed this much in a too long of a time. I would recommend this film without hesitation. It's smart and funny and just plain FUN. And make sure you pay attention to the last scene. It had me giggling *all* the way home.