Directed by Jay Roach, starring Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner & Teri Polo
Greg Focker (Stiller) is a nurse who has decided that teacher girlfriend Pam (Polo) really is the one. He wants marriage, she wants Dad Jack's (De Niro) blessing before the big day. So they decamp to her parents' house for a weekend of long chats and longer stares, Greg with the expensive gift, the ring, the speech and the belief that in true love, nothing can go wrong. Then Greg meets Jack (De Niro), and the game plan heads south. Jack is a former CIA man turned cat-obsessed control freak who gives Pam's suitors lie detector tests and won't understand why a WASP stockbroker was chucked in favour of a dog loving, Jewish male nurse with sweaty palms and an unfortunate surname.
Roach made his name with the Austin Powers series but with 'Meet The Parents' he sets his humour sights higher, probing and poking at what happens when you have to impress the people you couldn't honestly care less about. For anyone who has ever walked the longest mile to that someone's house, Stiller's frown and De Niro's grimace will bring the sweaty, nauseous memories of clock watching silences, bad photos and doorstep sandwiches flooding back.
Stiller, reprising his arch loser role from 'There's Something About Mary', is perfect as the well meaning but ill prepared Mr Maybe who hopes for manly chats with De Niro (unhinged and a belly laugh away from his own sitcom) by the fire, only to have to share the couch with suburbia's answer to Colonel Kurtz, a man who describes dogs as "emotionally shallow animals" and whose poem to his deceased mother reads like the footnotes from a pathologist's handbook. There's a savage joy watching his freefall from one ritual humiliation to another: losing his luggage so that he has to wear De Niro's clothes, lying so badly that he's forced to explain to him how a cat can be milked and then desecrating his mother's ashes while trying to open a bottle of champagne. Too close for comfort? Wait until you see what he does to the family cat.
The perfect Saturday night out and one guaranteed to put you off suggested Sunday outings for life.