Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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MEET THE PARENTS

Starring: Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller
Director: Jay Roach
Rated: M

AS a priest I am not in the best position to know how stressful it is to meet one’s prospective in-laws.

I can only imagine how formidable an experience it is.

Script writers Jim Herfield and John Hamburg have collected every possible horror story they have heard about these occasions and put them into Meet the Parents. It is a genial and light film with some very funny scenes.

Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is a Jewish boy from Chicago. He has fallen in love with Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). He and Pam have agreed to marry, but first they have to spend a weekend at Dina’s parents home in the east where Greg can “ask for her hand in marriage”. Jack (Robert DeNiro) and Dina (Blythe Danner) are the classic American white Anglo-Saxon Protestant couple.

On arrival it’s clear that Jack is more than protective of Dina and has some concerns about his future son-in-law. Greg is in for a tough weekend.

This film belongs to Stiller and DeNiro. They play off each other very well, but the material is limited and it runs out of puff fairly quickly.

That said, there are two very funny scenes where Greg is invited to say grace before a meal and later Jack puts Greg through a lie detector test, “just for the hell of it”.

At the Melbourne launch of Innocence, Julia Blake said that, “I am surprised at the wonderful reception our little film has had”.

So am I.

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