|Meet the Parents|
International film poster
|Directed by||Jay Roach|
Robert De Niro|
Meet the Parents written by Greg Glienna and|
Mary Ruth Clarke
Robert De Niro|
|Music by||Randy Newman|
|Editing by||Jon Poll|
|Release date(s)||October 6, 2000|
|Running time||108 minutes|
|Box office||$330.4 million|
Meet the Parents is a 2000 American comedy film written by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg and directed by Jay Roach. Starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, the film chronicles a series of unfortunate events that befall a good-hearted but hapless nurse while visiting his girlfriend's parents. Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, and Owen Wilson also star.
Meet the Parents is a remake of a 1992 film of the same name directed by Greg Glienna and produced by Jim Vincent. Glienna—who also played the original film's main protagonist—and Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote the screenplay. Universal Pictures purchased the rights to Glienna's film with the intent of creating a new version. Jim Herzfeld expanded the original script but development was halted for some time. Jay Roach read the expanded script and expressed his desire to direct the film but Universal declined him. At that time, Steven Spielberg was interested in directing the film while Jim Carrey was interested in playing the lead role. The studio only offered the film to Roach once Spielberg and Carrey left the project.
Released in the United States and Canada on October 6, 2000 and distributed by Universal Studios, the film earned back its initial budget of $55 million in only eleven days. It went on to become one of the highest grossing films of 2000, earning over $160 million in North America and over $330 million worldwide. Meet the Parents was well received by film critics and viewers alike, winning several awards and earning additional nominations. Ben Stiller won two comedy awards for his performance and the film was chosen as the Favorite Comedy Motion Picture at the 2001 People's Choice Awards. The success of Meet the Parents inspired two film sequels, namely Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers released in 2004 and 2010 respectively. Meet the Parents also inspired a reality television show titled Meet My Folks and a situation comedy titled In-Laws, both of them debuting on NBC in 2002.
Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) is a nurse living in Chicago. He intends to propose to his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo), but his plan is disrupted when he learns that Pam's sister's fiance had asked Pam's father for permission before proposing. Greg and Pam travel to Pam's parents' house to attend Pam's sister's wedding. Greg hopes to propose to Pam in front of her family after receiving her father's permission, but this plan is put on hold when the airline loses his luggage, including the engagement ring.
At the Byrnes' home on Long Island, Greg meets Pam's father Jack (Robert De Niro), mother Dina (Blythe Danner) and their beloved cat Mr. Jinx. Jack immediately takes a dislike to Greg and openly criticizes him for his choice of career as a male nurse and whatever else he sees as a difference between Greg and the Byrnes family. Greg tries to impress Jack, but his efforts fail completely. Greg becomes even more uncomfortable after he receives an impromptu |lie detector test from Jack and later learns from Pam that her father is a retired CIA counterintelligence officer.
Meeting the rest of Pam's family and friends, Greg still feels like an outsider. Despite efforts to impress the family, Greg's inadvertent actions make him an easy target for ridicule and anger: he's asked to lead a prayer--although he's Jewish, and starts reciting the lyrics from the song "Day by Day" from the musical "Godspell," he accidentally destroys an urn that contains the ashes of Jack's deceased mother (and Jinx urinates in them afterwards), then he accidentally hits Pam's sister's eye during a pool volleyball mishap; uses a malfunctioning toilet that floods the Byrnes' back yard with sewage; sets the wedding altar on fire and inadvertently leads Jack to think he is a marijuana user. Jack himself, conducts a background check on Greg's MCAT scores and thinks that Greg never actually took the MCAT's, and he inspects Greg's found luggage (which is not actually his) containing sexual toys and gimmicks. Later, Greg loses Jinx and replaces him with a stray whose tail he spray paints to make him look like Mr. Jinx. The stray cat trashes the house, and the Byrnes arrive at the scene.
The entire Byrnes family, including Pam agree that it is best for Greg to leave. Desperate to save himself, Greg reveals that he's seen Jack talking to strange characters, and is planning a secret mission after Pam's sister's wedding, thus lying about being retired from the CIA. Jack angrily explains that the secret mission was a surprise honeymoon for the newlywed couple, and Greg realizes that he's only dug himself deeper. Greg reluctantly goes to the airport and is detained by airport security after he refuses to check in his luggage, remembering what happened last time.
Back at the Byrnes' household, Jack tries to convince his wife and Pam that Greg would be an unsuitable husband, as he is completely dishonest and stupid. Upon receiving retribution from both his wife and Pam (and proof that Greg did indeed ace the MCAT's), Jack realizes that Pam truly loves Greg. Jack rushes to the airport, convinces airport security to release Greg, and demands that he be honest about everything that transpired. Greg admits that he loves Pam, and everything he did before was out of desperation to win Jack's approval. Jack admits that maybe he had been too hard on Greg, and he brings him back to the Byrnes' household.
Greg proposes to Pam. She accepts, and her parents agree that they should now meet Greg's parents. After Debbie's wedding, Jack views footage of Greg recorded by hidden cameras that he had placed strategically around their house.
- Robert De Niro as Jack Byrnes
- Ben Stiller as Gaylord "Greg" Focker
- Teri Polo as Pam Byrnes
- Blythe Danner as Dina Byrnes
- Nicole DeHuff as Deborah Byrnes
- Jon Abrahams as Denny Byrnes
- Owen Wilson as Kevin Rawley
- James Rebhorn as Dr. Larry Banks
- Thomas McCarthy as Dr. Robert "Bob" Banks
- Phyllis George as Linda Banks