Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Parents' Is Excruciatingly Hilarious De Niro Gets Laughs as Menacing Father

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Parents' Is Excruciatingly Hilarious De Niro Gets Laughs as Menacing Father

Article excerpt

Meet the Parents is the funniest movie I've seen in my six-and-a-half blissful years of reviewing movies.

No doubt about it.

In fact, it may be the funniest movie since A Fish Called Wanda, made 12 years ago.

After a slowish start, it quickly revs up and becomes sharply, excruciatingly funny, without relying on gross-out humor or outlandish jokes that come from nowhere.

Instead it specializes in the agonizingly comic things people do to themselves when they get in trouble by refusing to admit they were wrong.

And so a bad situation only gets worse. And worse.

Meet the Parents has a killer comic premise: A youngish, confident, urbane and urban Jewish man is suddenly transplanted to the leafy, WASP suburbs -- home to his prospective father-in-law.

That would be Robert De Niro, in all his coiled menace.

Yikes.

And the prospective son-in-law (Ben Stiller, flawless as usual) is rendered helpless with nervousness, with a foot permanently lodged in his mouth.

Under the withering eyes of De Niro, everything Stiller says and does comes out all wrong. Starting with his name: It's Greg Focker . . . and yes, it's spelled just like it sounds.

De Niro is Jack Byrnes, a humorless dad who believes no man is good enough for his daughter, Pam (Felicity's Teri Polo). Bad enough. But soon

Byrnes' cover story slips: He's not a retired horticulturist.

He's an expert in interrogation. For the CIA. And he has lots of questions for the man who would think he's good enough to marry his daughter.

But Meet the Parents is far from a one-joke movie: There's much more going on here, most of it revolving around the subtle emasculation of Focker.

He has that unfortunate last name. The airlines have lost his luggage, so he has to wear other people's clothes. He's a renter, not a homeowner. …

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