The Good: Teri Polo's Acting
The Bad: Characters, Plot, Utter lack of humor
The Basics: A HUGE disappointment for a fun movie as it was horribly unfunny, Meet The Parents is utterly predictable and obviously plotted; only someone who has never seen a film would love this.
I went into Meet The Parents with high expectations: I like Robert De Niro and I've enjoyed Ben Stiller whenever I've seen him talking about his works. Add to that that he was a bright spot in the otherwise disappointing Mystery Men and truly great in his dramatic role in The Royal Tenenbaums (reviewed here!). Well, there's not living up to high expectations and then there's falling so far short that it detracts from my ever wanting to see a film with an actor/director/writer ever again. Meet The Parents is one such film.
Ben Stiller played Greg, a male nurse who wants to propose to Pam. He's on the verge of it when he finds out Pam's father likes being asked for permission. So, two weeks later, Greg and Pam go to visit Jack and his non-entity wife (Pam's mother). From there, Jack and Greg become involved with many capers that lead to the two forming an understanding. That's it, that's the extent of the plot.
It's pathetic. I thought it would be funny, it wasn't. The hijinks are contrived, the humor is forced, the situation isn't even silly funny, it's silly boring. The film isn't outrageous or original, it's dumb. It's not well written, it's not audacious, it's not well executed for what it is. That is, romantic comedies can still be well put together and even surprising. This film was neither. When it cannot be cerebrally funny - i.e. making jokes about Jack's work in the intelligence community - it degenerates quickly into slapstick humor, which I often find to be a low attempt to make people laugh. In this case, it uses the tried and dead jokes about an animal exchange and people on rooftops.
I thought this could be interesting, but no one rises to the occasion. The script is uninspired, so the actors have nowhere to go with the material and the whole film has the feeling that they know this and they've opted not to try. Everything is set up in such a way that the next scene is obvious to anyone who has a memory. From the beginning we know where the film is going and in the process, there are pointless episodes that don't add anything, including humor.
The bright spot was Teri Polo, who did the best job of acting. Her character was likable and actually interesting. Watching her was the single bright spot of this otherwise dreadful film. And it's not like her character is terribly funny, instead she just seems the most "real" of the people we're exposed to here.
The truth is, Meet The Parents is supposed to be a comedy. When I watch a comedy, I expect to laugh. I like comedies, I like laughing. When I go into a comedy with high expectations, I'm ready to laugh. A lot. I laughed twice watching this film and I only smiled one other time. This film is not worth your time; save it and let me be the only one to waste time on it.
For other works with Teri Polo, be sure to visit my reviews of:
The West Wing - Season Seven
The West Wing - Season Six
Northern Exposure - Season Six
For other film reviews, be sure to check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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