Time: 108 mins.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Academy Award nomination for Best Song.
I've been a big fan of Ben Stiller's ever since his short-lived TV show on Fox. However, I've also been waiting for him to do a film worthy of his talent. So far, my favorite of his features is the dysfunctional romantic comedy FLIRTING WITH DISASTER. I was hoping MEET THE PARENTS would be a step back into the mature comedy direction, especially since it co-starred Robert De Niro. Unfortunately, it was more SOMETHING ABOUT MARY than I thought and hoped it would be. I'm sure the PG-13 rating had something to do with it. When you're trying to appeal to teenagers and adults the comedy gets broader and more childish.
Some people really enjoy the all out craziness of these type of comedies, I just don't happen to be one of them. There comes a point when the film just loses it's believability and becomes boring. You don't really care what disaster comes next because you know it's coming and is going to have to be worse than the one that preceded it. There was no question that Stiller's job in this movie was to destroy everything in his path, it was just a matter of how hated was he going to be by the end of it. All the big payoffs were so obvious there was no humor in it when they finally came to pass. There was no doubt in my mind, when Greg, Stiller's character, opened the bottle of champagne what was going to happen with the cork. Though the situations were innately funny, the film lacks the joy of surprise. This is a paint-by-the-numbers comedy that works more because of its casting than its script.
The story goes something like this boy wants to propose to girl, finds out should ask father first, tries to impress father, craziness ensues. There's not much more to the plot. It takes place mainly over a weekend where his girlfriend's sister is getting married. You've probably seen some of the best lines and scenes in the trailer and though it was fairly predictable, there is a great deal of sweetness threaded throughout. Stiller and Polo have a believable relationship and make you feel they actually love one another. De Niro has some great scenes with the family cat that show a softer/weirder side that will definitely make you laugh. I thought some of the subtler scenes like when Stiller tries to explain what "Puff the Magic Dragon" is all about to De Niro were actually funnier than his attempt to burn the house down. My favorite scenes came at the end of the film when Stiller takes a flight attendant to task and then turns the tables on De Niro. Classic and incredibly funny stuff you wish you could do in real life.