"Are you a pothead, Focker?"
At this point my blog followers probably know that I am not a fan of awkward comedy. By rule, that means that I am not a huge Ben Stiller fan. One of his most famous movies, Meet the Parents, has been deemed significant by the 1077 for reasons that I will never understand. To get to the point, I hated it. I am still gonna write about it because that is my job, but this could be an offensive write up for a fan of the franchise.
Meet the Parents follows a comedic formula that I have never been interested in, the destination formula. This means that the film shows us a character who is trying to get something (or somewhere), but he just cannot seem to do things correctly. Like the title implies, the unfortunately named Gaylord Focker meets the parents of his girlfriend, Pam. Gaylord (Greg) is a seemingly normal man who is desperate for the approval of his in-laws-to-be, but this is a comedy film –or something like one. We know things will not go right for Focker, but even the audience is surprised by how downhill things go.
Ben Stiller plays our leading man. He is awkward, unlucky and cannot seem to do anything right. The problem I have with Stiller’s performance is that he never makes me care about him. He just stumbles through insistently stupid mishaps, one after another, so nonchalantly that I started to think he was just a stupid guy. Stupid things happen to stupid people. Therefore, I feel no sympathy for Focker. There is no realistic reason for a man to get himself into THAT MANY negative situations from just existing.
Robert De Niro is interesting in Meet the Parents. Though I already knew that he could do comedy, I was surprised at how easily he became Jack Byrnes. A former CIA agent, Byrnes is the nightmare of every hopeful husband. The things that he says are usually somewhat ridiculous, and he does not make you laugh. At his funniest, De Niro’s Byrnes can only make you chuckle. This is not enough to save the film for me.
Honestly, I just found the bumbling of Stiller’s character to be annoying. I also did not find any of the action very realistic, relatable or funny. In fact, most of it was very unfunny to me. The only realistic part of the film was when Focker finally snapped while on an airplane. I liked that scene a lot because it finally turned the punching bag into a character worth following. Sadly, it happened far too late in the picture.
Meet the Parents is not a funny movie. It is one of the least funny films that I have ever seen. Nothing that funny happens. It was just annoying. I hated it. I really really hated it. Maybe I just do not find awkwardness to be very funny. I chalk it up to not finding Ben Stiller very appealing.
One positive aspect of the film is the Oscar nominated song by Randy Newman, “A Fool in Love”. But in reality, I probably only noticed the song because it was playing during my favorite part of the film – the end credits.
Meet the Parents: D