Mayhem Unlimited

Disastrously funny. No kidding.

I'd call this flick thoroughly enjoyable and disastrously (I mean this literally!) funny. But then what do you expect? When you realize that "Meet The Parents" is directed by Jay Roach of "Austen Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me" fame and it stars none other than Ben Stiller (who is best known as the lovable bumbling idiot in "There's Something About Mary"), you don't really go in expecting serious cinema.

"Meet The Parents"does not disappoint. Those who felt that "Austen Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me" was a bit too much where toilet humour is concerned will be happy to know that Roach's latest offering is a lot more subtle...but hilarious none the less.

The story runs thus: male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is madly in love with Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) and all ready to propose marriage in great style when realization dawns that he would have to seek Papa Byrnes' permission first in order to gain acceptance into the Byrnes family. He decides to use the upcoming weekend trip to the Byrnes home in New York where Pam's sister is getting married as the perfect opportunity to get to know Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) and ask for Pam's hand. But things don't exactly go according to plan, starting with lost luggage to Greg accidentally shattering the urn containing Jack's mom's ashes. Also, Greg's surname doesn't help matters as mishaps continue to abound.

The film flows smoothly and there are no obvious hiccups, both in the direction and the script. In fact, I thought that the dialogue was very well written in a simple storyline. Overall, the acting is good. In particular, two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro is brilliant as the formidable, wily and suspicious Jack Byrnes who dotes on his daughter Pam. Ben Stiller is also excellent as the devoted boyfriend with a talent for manufacturing mishaps.

The characters are well drawn out and distinct complete with all the required quirks necessary to substantiate them and together they're a riot. A movie definitely worth your time, I'd say.

This article was first published on 10 Jan 2001.