Let's see. Ben Stiller plays some poor schmuck who has somehow managed to land a girlfriend far out of what should be his league, makes a complete fool out of himself time and time again trying to keep that girl, and everything magically works out in the end for no apparent reason - and there's a beloved pet in the story, too. Hmmm, this sounds familiar. I really don't know how I ended up watching yet another Ben Stiller movie, since Ben Stiller is one of my least favorite actors, but Meet the Parents has its funny moments, benefits greatly from the talents of the consummate actor himself, Robert De Niro, and ends up being fairly entertaining albeit redundant.
Ben Stiller plays Greg Focker, a name which leads to countless jokes throughout the film, a male nurse who has somehow won the affections of a certain Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo); his elaborate plan to propose to Pam is stymied when he learns Pam's sister is getting married in two weeks and - shudder - he is about to meet Pam's parents. Naturally, he's nervous and tries tremendously hard to make a good impression. Unfortunately, dear old Dad (Robert De Niro) is very hard to please and Greg, being the naturally ill-fated nincompoop he is, manages to mess up time and time again - big-time; I'm talking 100 times worse than Steve Urkel here. I won't go into any details, so as not to take away from the hilarity that ensues - well, it's good for a few laughs, anyway.
The film actually has a great cast. De Niro more than makes up for Stiller's faults, and Owen Wilson is a great addition as Pam's smarmy ex-fiance. If you like There's Something About Mary, you are sure to enjoy Meeting the Parents, as it is really just more of the same type of comedy. The comedy actually goes a little too far, if you ask me, because there is no way that any family could accept Greg Focker after all of the damage he causes over the course of a mere weekend.
The movie is helped by the fact that most people can identify with Greg Focker and the trauma of meeting prospective in-laws for the first time, especially guys having to worry about staking a claim to daddy's little girl. Personally, I like the fact that this movie didn't go to any gross-out extremes; barring a few common curse words and a steady supply of jokes about Greg Focker's name, this is a pretty family-friendly film. There's nothing very original about it, but Meeting the Parents is pretty entertaining and is sure to get a few grins out of even the most curmudgeonly of viewers.