Meet The Parents

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Meet The Parents
Meet The Parents

If you are into commentaries, take a tip. Avoid the first one. Jay Roach and Ben Stiller are in L.A. Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal are in New York. The "conversation" is nervous, unnatural. The problem is Bob. He's in one of his monosyllabic moods and obviously doesn't want to be there. The Californians are desperate to include him.

Jay: "Did you keep in touch with all three cats you were working with?" Bob: "I thought there were two."

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Jay: "Bob, have you worked with animals before?" Bob: "In The Deer Hunter, I had a deer."

Jay: "The little things you do crack me up."

It's obvious that everyone is in awe of him. Stiller was so nervous that the first scene they did together he couldn't stop laughing. "He didn't talk to me between takes," Stiller says. "He talked to everyone else." Jane hardly speaks, except to ask Bob if he has "hand approval" and Bob says, "Yes, I have." Really?

The second commentary is terrific, because it's the director and the editor talking about what they know - the movie - without having to compliment everyone in sight. The opening shot is of Chicago, although they never went to Chicago. They filmed the early stuff in Manhattan. Also, the title sequence of Teri Polo fooling around for the camera was shot on a camcorder by her husband, which gives it that playful look.

The dinner scene, when De Niro reads the poem about his mother and Stiller describes milking a cat and the champagne cork knocks the urn off the mantlepiece, took two days to shoot with two cameras. "We ended up with 11 hours of film," Poll says. On screen, it's eight minutes.

There was a lot of improvisation and a good deal of laughter. The lie detector scene that is used as the film's motif was not in the original script. That was De Niro's idea.

Behind The Scenes: Spotlight On Location is self-congratulatory, with people explaining what the movie's about - Why bother? We've just seen it - and everyone saying how wonderful Jay Roach is.

There are two Deleted Scenes, both hilarious. It seems a shame not using them.

The Outtakes are a hoot, too, with the actors cracking up in scene after scene. You wonder how they ever finished the movie, with De Niro and Stiller getting the giggles all the time.

Reviewed on: 14 Nov 2001
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Meet The Parents packshot
Stiller's would-be husband discovers his potential father-in-law is a nightmare.
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Product Code: 688 215 2

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Commentary with director Jay Roach, producer Jane Rosenthal, actors Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller; Commentary with Jay Roach and editor Jon Poll; Behind The Scenes; Deleted Scenes; Outtakes; Trailers

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