A Review by Krystina Owens
Probably one of the most terrifying moments in anyone’s life is introducing your significant other to your parents. Ladies especially, introducing your new special someone to your father can be quite an awkward and frightening experience. This beautiful moment of sheer terror and tension is captured beautifully in the 2000 romantic comedy, Meet the Parents. This hysterical comedy full of cringe-worthy moments is definitely not your typical romantic comedy. Don’t expect those shy and flirty encounters that leave you pining to be the heroine-instead, you’ll watch the film and be thankful that your boyfriend/girlfriend’s experience with your parents could never be as bad as Greg Focker’s.
Meet the Parents is a film that is the living embodiment of Murphy’s Law, and it tells the absolute worst-case scenario story of one man meeting his future in-laws. What Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) hopes to be a successful weekend of impressing the parents of his girlfriend, Pam (Terri Polo) instead turns into his worst nightmare when he literally can do nothing right, and ends up exposing the worst sides of him rather than the best. Greg cannot seem to get along with the family cat, Jinx, he breaks a jar containing Pam’s mother’s ashes, is constantly overshadowed by Kevin (Owen Wilson), Pam’s perfect ex-boyfriend, and he even exposes his secret smoking habit by burning down the alter for Pam’s sister’s wedding. And these are only the highlights of Greg’s misfortune-so much more awaits this poor man just trying to make a decent impression with Pam’s family. Meanwhile Pam’s father Jack (Robert DeNiro), an ex-CIA agent, is overly suspicious of any of his daughter’s boyfriends to begin with, and with Greg’s consistently suspicious and odd behavior Jack is convinced that Greg is lying about his identity and certainly not husband material for his daughter. Once Jack gets involved in his daughter’s love life, things only get more complicated for Greg as he begins to wonder whether or not her can even survive in this family.
Although the film is now 16 years old, if you have a Netflix account and haven’t seen it-do yourself a favor and watch this one. Some of the stunts are a bit over the top, to be frank, but it will make you feel so much better about anything stupid your sweetheart has ever done in front of your parents (or anything embarrassing you might have done in front of theirs-trust me, we’ve all been there). The comedic tension between DeNiro and Stiller is priceless and has even been the catalyst to prompt two sequels to the film (these I would recommend skipping). But like any romantic comedy, Meet the Parents has its tender moments as well, really grabbing your heartstrings with its messages on loving someone in spite of their flaws and learning to come together as a family. So the next time you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, and maybe you’re accompanied by a partner that hates the typical love-drama, give this one a try. Meet the Parents is something that all can enjoy, because among its silliness and fun it reminds us that real love is all about being human.