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Meet The Parents (2000) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 December 2010
ImageFew of us have forgotten our initial viewing “Meet The Parents.”  It was a comic relief that was truly necessary at the time.  The film held on to the top box office spot for its first month of release, beating out “Remember The Titans” and “Get Carter.”  It wasn’t until “Charlie’s Angels” came along that “Meet The Parents” fell form the leader board, but still managed to stay ahead of “The Legend Of Bagger Vance.”

While it is hard for comedies to bring new elements to the table, and it is not to say that “Meet The parents” did that, but somehow the family dynamics worked for the audience.  Ben Stiller stars as Greg Focker, a male nurse that has fallen in love with an elementary school teacher, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo).  When Greg tries to propose he is interrupted by a trip, his first trip, to Pam’s childhood home.

Pam’s family shares a secret, one that is fairly ridiculous and not really important to keep a secret.  Pam’s father, Jack (Robert De Niro) is an ex-CIA agent that runs his family and life like he is still part of the government, whatever that means.  This intimidates Greg, as every gesture he makes is flipped and turned into something bad, and usually funny by Jack.  You really feel for poor Greg throughout the film.  He tries his hardest to befriend Jack, but instead Jack is concerned with simply showing Pam how wrong Greg is for her.

The film is filled with iconic sequences and notions.  Most of us won’t forget about being allowed inside the circle of trust, or Jinxy the cat an toilet flushing, milking a cat on the farm or the bottle of rum glued to a toddler’s hands.  And who could forget the infamous luggage in the overhead bin rampage.  There is some true comic genius there.  Having all the characters be straight-laced, made the comic humor all that much funnier.

Eventually, Jack’s endeavor wins out and Pam gets the idea that Greg is not the right guy for her.  But Greg is determined until he is forced out.  Leave it to Jack to realize the error of his ways and rushes to retrieve Greg and provide for a happy ending, that is until “Meet The Fockers” comes along.
The original SD DVD of the film was not that spectacular. Of course once you start watching Blu-ray material it is hard to see anything on SD DVD without shuddering.  The VC-1 encode at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presented by Universal is more than adequate.  It is not an attention-grabbing image, but it more than suits the genre.  The image remains grounded in the realm of reality.  There are no oversaturated colors here.  Hues and saturation remain earth bound and warm.  Contrast and brightness levels stay nicely balanced.  Noise reduction is evident in this transfer, but it isn’t as annoying as some of the Universal DNR transfers.  Black levels are stable and usually provide good details in the shadows.  Details and textures are noticeably improved.  Jinxy the cat has nicely defined fur and whiskers.  The carving of the chuppah is amazingly detailed.  You won’t be left stunned by the image quality but it is certainly the best the film has looked to date.

As with all typical dramatic-comedies, “Meet The Parents” has a sufficient audio track, but nothing spectacular.  The LFE channel is absent as to be expected.  Dialogue is faithfully reproduced.  You won’t find the surround channels to be fairly engaging.  Immersion is extremely limited.  The sonic fidelity of the track is not the best, but it is natural and not Hollywood-ized with lavish sound effects.  The width of the front stereo field is good, but again the dialogue anchors most of the sound to the center.  So, a good audio track limited mainly by the original sound design and opportunities for greater production value.

“Meet The Parents” comes with a fairly standard set of bonus features.  The Blu-ray contains most of the bonus materials from the original Collector’s Edition DVD, but not all.  There are two audio commentaries. The first is with director Jay Roach and Editor Jon Poll.  The second commentary is with cast members De Niro and Stiller, as well as Roach again and producer Jane Rosenthal.  The second is far more entertaining and engaging.  There is a collection of deleted scenes and outtakes.  “Spotlight On Location” is primary featurette with typical footage and interviews.  “The Truth About Lying” examines the lie detector test.  “De Niro Unplugged” briefly looks a De Niro’s singing abilities.  “Silly Cat Tricks” dives into cat training.  Lastly, there is a director profile and BD-Live functionality.

“Meet The Parents” is the perfect comedy, but with an all-star cast, it is hard to beat.  The audio and video qualities are well suited to the genre and at least the video quality is a worthy upgrade from the SD DVD.  I recommend this title.

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