Meet the Parents is being re-released on DVD just eight days before the theatrical release of the sequel, Meet the Fockers. For those of you who own Meet the Parents: Collector's Edition, there isn't much cause to upgrade. The reason is that the movie is the same transfer found in the 2001 DVD release, except the language options and special features differ. Please refer to the audio and extras sections for a comprehensive description of the differences between the two versions. Besides the language options and special features, the movie is exactly the same and while there are differences, they are fairly minimal. So if you happen to already be familiar with Meet the Parents and just are curious if this bonus edition is better suited for you than the collector's edition, you might want to just skip ahead to the audio and extras sections. However, if you missed the original 2001 DVD release of Meet the Parents, you'll definitely want to read on, because Meet the Parents is definitely one of those movies that you should own. Why? Because it's an overly dramatic, but hilarious look into one of life's most serious situations, meeting your future in-laws.
This movie takes a rather common occurrence in life and blows the situation slightly out of proportion by putting a single guy into one awful situation after another. The actual realism of the movie seems arguable, as how can so many bad things happen to one guy over and over again? Regardless whether or not you can easily accept the reality of it, Meet the Parents is a hysterical movie.
Ben Stiller (Dodgeball) stars as Greg Focker. Focker wants to marry his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo), and just when he decides to propose to her, he learns that Pam's sister Deborah decided to tie the knot with a guy named Dr. Bob. Fortunately before Focker asked for Pam's hand in marriage, he learned that it's customary to ask the father first. It's what Dr. Bob did. So naturally, Focker decides that it would be best if waited and got Pam's father's permission first. At this point, Focker and Pam head off for Deborah's wedding. At the same time, Focker hopes to get the blessing of Pam's father. Of course, nothing seems to go Focker's way. From the first second that he meets Pam's father Jack (Robert De Niro, Analyze This), he's in a whole mess of trouble, whether he's desecrating the remains of Jack's mother, losing the family cat, tripping over his lies, or just looking plain ridiculous in speedos, he just can't seem to get a break.
What makes this a really great comedy isn't the story or the absurd situations that Focker gets himself into time and time again (it's still a wonderful aspect, but not the tip of the iceberg), but rather the interaction between the two main characters, Focker and Jack. Both roles are filled by wonderful actors and they seem to play off of each other very well. De Niro does a fantastic job with his role as the overly suspicious father and he also does manage to get in a few great jokes. Most people think of De Niro as a serious actor, with roles in films like Casino, but he is a very talented actor and can handle himself very well in other roles. This film is no exception, as De Niro dips into comedy with ease. Stiller is naturally a great comedian. His role as Greg Focker is executed with near perfection. He fills the role of the guy who just can't seem to do anything right with ease. But the real kicker is just how well the two work together, making the various situations outright hilarious.
Overall, Meet the Parents is definitely one of those comedies that is worth watching. I've always enjoyed this movie and I think that even after several viewings, it's still quite funny. The story is pretty entertaining, which is mostly due to the outrageous situations that Focker gets into over and over again. In addition, the interaction between Stiller and De Niro are absolutely hilarious. Meet the Parents is a great comedy.
The menus are the same as the collector's edition, except there are a few Earthlink advertisements
The video is given in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen color. The picture quality is very good, with a sharp image that details colors very well. There is a nearly unnoticeable grain in the picture, which should not bother most viewers.
There are many more language options in this release than the collector's edition. The audio tracks include an English 5.1 DTS track and 5.1 tracks in English, Spanish, & French. There are also subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. The collector's edition did not have a Spanish 5.1 track or subtitles in Spanish and French. Overall, the sound quality is good. The 5.1 track tends to be very flat, but dialogue comes off very clear. There is very little use of the surround sound capability, with the majority of the audio coming from the forward channels.
One of the major pushes of this bonus edition is to include a few special features that weren't included in the original 2001 DVD release. However, the "new" special features are not really that exciting. Some are good for a single viewing and others you'd probably never want to watch. The following lists reveal which extras are located on this release, which extras are only found on the collector's edition, and which extras appeared on both the bonus and collector's editions
Bonus Edition Extras
All-New Outtakes (6:11) - a previously unreleased blooper reel that isn't much more exciting than the original twelve minute blooper reel
De Niro Unplugged (1:30) – deleted scene of De Niro singing "Love's in the Air"
The Truth About Lying (6:40) - a short featurette with Nick Savastano, a Licensed Polygraph Technician, discussing polygraph machines
Silly Cat Tricks (5:29) - featurette with Dawn Barkan (Animal Trainer), discussing how Jinx the cat was trained for the movie
Jay Roach: A Director's Profile (1:15) - a montage of pictures and video clips, with techno background music that is not entertaining or informative. It's pretty pointless.
Collector's Edition Extras
Audio Commentary with Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Jay Roach, Jane Rosenthal
Spotlight on Location (24:17) - behind the scenes featurette with cast and crew
Lie Detector test and Forecaster Game - two boring interactive games
Cast and Filmmakers biographies and film highlights
Extras on Both Editions
Outtakes (11:44) - a blooper reel, with a few good laughs and a few dull moments
Deleted Scenes (3:21) - two deleted scenes with audio commentary (Jay Roach and Jon Poll)
Audio Commentary with Jay Roach and Jon Poll
I personally liked the extras on the collector's edition more. The new bloopers reel and the deleted scene (De Niro singing) were fun, but they weren't exceptional. The short featurettes tended to be very uninteresting. As for the recycled material, the audio commentary they included was pretty dry. The other commentary with Stiller was much better and should have been included in place of the other one. Overall, there are some decent extras, but they have very little replay value.
Overall, I feel that Meet the Parents is a very strong movie. The comedy is a bit over the top, but it still comes off very funny. The two main characters are what really make the movie a winner. If you've never seen this movie or do not own it on DVD, this is a perfect chance to pick it up. However, if you already own the collector's edition, then this bonus edition is really not worth picking up. The extras that make this a "bonus edition" aren't really entertaining enough to make it worth double-dipping. So if you fit in the previous category, I suggest you rent it if you desire to check out the twenty-one minutes of extras not found in the collector's edition. However, if you don't happen to own this release or if you are interested in having a 5.1 Spanish audio track or subtitles in Spanish and French, it is recommended.