: Meet the Parents
Director: Jay Roach
Excellent movie! Just the perfect mix of realism and exaggeration. The plot’s simple: Ben Stiller plays a young man ready to marry his girlfriend, only first he must meet her parents. The parents are cautiously welcoming, but everything goes hilariously wrong. What I liked was that no one goes out of their way to make Stiller feel uncomfortable; what happens is a matter of clumsiness, bad luck, and Stiller’s own push to appear the perfect son-in-law. Classic example: in a “friendly” water volleyball match, Stiller’s team is criticizing his repeated mistakes. Finally Stiller has had enough. He rears up and hammers home a terrific spike — and gives his girlfriend’s sister a facial, on the eve of her wedding. Suddenly everyone’s acting like Stiller’s a serial killer. You feel tremendous sympathy for poor Stiller — no one does the hapless-but-likable victim better. Hilarious, well-acted, well-written. A bit silly in places, but doesn’t really hurt the film overall.