Making the Grades
When Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) decides to ask his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) to marry him, he realizes she expects him to ask her father's permission first. As Pam's sister's wedding is coming up, Greg decides that's the perfect occasion to fly to New York and meet Jack (Robert DeNiro), her father.
With a huge diamond ring in his carry-on luggage, Greg is frantic when the airline forces him to check his bag. Of course, we're not surprised when it doesn't meet him in New York. But things get even worse when Greg meets Jack. A retired horticulturist, Jack is forceful, imposing, and lacking any sense of humor. Nor does Jack, a real man's man, think much of Greg's occupation as a male nurse.
Desperately wanting to please her father, Greg begins telling some white lies to hide minor faults, like his dislike for the Byrnes' family cat (to which Jack is obsessively attached) and his forgetting not to use a defective toilet, which results in a major septic tank disaster. Still trying to recover from his fumbles, it appears Greg's introductory meeting is destined to disaster.
For any man who has gone through the agony of meeting his fianc0xE9e's parents for the first time (myself included!) this movie is bound to hold some laughs, especially with Stiller's antics juxtaposed against DeNiro's deadpan character. However, it's unfortunate that so much of the humor rests on sexual situations. Jack informs Greg that although he suspects Greg and his daughter are having a sexual relationship, they will not sleep together under his roof. Throughout the movie this is discussed using crude terms and the couple looks for any opportunity to have sex including a moment when Greg makes advances on Pam and fondles her under her shirt.
With Greg's surname repeated ad nauseam by a bemused Jack or continually played for laughs (often put in sentences similar to where the sexual expletive would be heard) one can argue that this movie should be rated R for language. All things considered, we rate it C for Caution.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Meet The Parents.
Obviously Greg made some bad decisions during his weekend with his future in-laws. What would you do differently than Greg if you met a person like Jack? If Greg had been honest in all his answers and actions, how do you think someone like Jack would react?