Meet the Parents (Rental) (2000)
|Category||Comedy||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (60:19)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Jay Roach|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Robert De Niro
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The broad story is fairly straightforward. Male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) has found the woman of his dreams in teacher Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) and has planned his proposal with her class' aid. Unfortunately the proposal is side-tracked by a telephone call from Debbie (Nicole DeHuff), Pam's sister, with news of her own wedding plans. In the passing conversation, Greg discovers that Debbie's fiancé had done the traditional thing and asked her father's permission before proposing. And so it is that Greg finds himself travelling from Chicago to New York with Pam for the weekend to Meet The Parents. In ordinary circumstances, this is a heavy enough burden to bear, but when your prospective father-in-law is an ex-CIA operative of over 30 years standing whose area of speciality was psychological profiling, there is plenty of added pressure. Inevitably, when Greg meets Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina Byrnes (Blythe Danner), things start off rockily and get progressively worse. The weekend basically turns into hell and nothing Greg does resurrects the situation in the slightest. Whilst mother Dina is more than happy with Greg, Jack remains his ever-suspicious self and basically Greg confirms every suspicion. Of course, he compounds every suspicion by not exactly telling the truth, but then again he is under a lot of pressure. What follows is an unlikely sequence of events, including meeting Pam's former fiancee Kevin (Owen Wilson), on a downward spiral to hell. Anyway, by the end of the weekend, Greg finds himself so far in the doghouse that he is heading back to Chicago pretty well convinced that Pam and he are finished, thanks to Jack.
The story is not especially brilliant, let down a little by a fair degree of telegraphy in my view. In the circumstances, this really required something special in the acting and directing department to lift the film out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, apart from the work of Robert De Niro doing another great comedic turn, this lacks those performances. In my opinion, those that were proclaiming this a De Niro masterpiece were seriously overstating the mark. Whilst his comedic skills are very much under-appreciated, this is not even his best work in the genre. It is good, and he has a deft touch at times, but personally I think Analyse This is a much stronger effort. Ben Stiller produces his usual down-trodden shtick and to be honest it is getting to be a little difficult to stomach it. It might have been refreshingly good once, but this really lacks the necessary distinctiveness that the part required. It is almost like he was overwhelmed at working with the great Robert De Niro. Teri Polo does a fair job as the romantic interest and female lead, and handles herself pretty well. The rest of the cast put on a decent enough show and round out the remaining characters pretty well, but they really are a side-show in this main event. There is no real distinction in the directing and cinematography could perhaps have been better. At times, I found the film just a little congested in the visuals and this needed to be opened up a little more at times.
Whilst appreciating that my views are somewhat at variance with the general feelings about this film, I really do not believe that this is a film that bears repeated viewings at all well. There is no real subtlety here at all, and that is the main problem: there is nothing new to be found in the film on repeated viewings. You get everything the first time through and so why watch it a second time? In that respect, this is a perfect film for rental release. However, as far as the release of a sell-through version is concerned in October, I would suggest that DreamWorks have shot themselves in the proverbial foot. If you all go out and rent this film now, then I really doubt you would need to worry about buying the sell-through version in a few months time.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
It needs to be understood that in general this is a very good transfer, for what follows may indicate otherwise. It is simply that whilst the general is good, the specific at times is a tad disappointing. In that regard, the earlier comments regarding the slight difference between the internal Byrne household shots and all other shots should be noted, for there is a difference that is a tad noticeable. Sharpness is pretty good throughout, although the Byrne household shots seem just a little diffuse, whereas some of the external shots (notably those during the drive to the Oyster Bay drug store) are brilliantly sharp, such that the reflections of the passing trees are clearly seen in the windscreen. Detail is generally excellent, with very little not being brought to light here. Shadow detail is not much of an issue, only coming into play in the shots through the short tunnel into the "interrogation" room and even then there is no real loss of detail at all. Clarity is excellent, allowing for those relatively slight graininess issues. There is nothing in the way of low level noise issues in the transfer.
The overall colour palette is excellent, very natural looking and with just a nice degree of vibrancy to the palette. There is a nice solidity to the tones although they are lacking the ultimate in saturation. Blacks could perhaps have been a little more solid. Perhaps the quality of the colour can be highlighted by the range of skin tones on offer during the swimming pool scene. There is no evidence of oversaturation in the transfer, and colour bleed is also not an issue.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There are only some relatively minor film-to-video artefacts in the transfer; just a little shimmer here and there (most noticeably in the shirt collar at 9:04 and 13:15) and a bit of wobble (at 23:03). As far as I can recall, and certainly from my notes, there are no film artefacts in the transfer.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 60:19. This occurs mid-scene and is just a little noticeable, even though it is not really disruptive to the overall flow of the film.
The dialogue is generally clear and easy to understand, although there are a few sequences done at low levels that tax the ears a tad. There are no problems with audio sync at all.
The music score comes from the pen of the seemingly omnipresent Randy Newman. Amongst the current generation of film composers, there are two who can be readily identified by their music - Danny Elfman and Randy Newman. The problem with remaining so close to a readily identifiable style is that, whilst making it easy to pick up who the composer is, the various film scores start to run into each other and lack something in the way of distinctiveness. That really is the problem here - the lack of distinction. It does the job asked of it well enough, but you really would not know you are watching Meet The Parents as opposed to any other film he has scored.
The film is very much dialogue-based. There is little in the way of bass channel use here, and even surround channel use is pretty limited. Indeed, the lack of rear surround channel use was rather noticeable at times. Something along the lines of silence is golden - well, not so much golden as obvious. For a higher bitrate soundtrack, this is not as open and clear as I would have expected. It is by no means congested but it lacks a bit of air in the sound that I would have expected here. There was no problem with distortions or any other blemishes in the transfer, and this is a perfectly serviceable soundtrack in every way. It simply lacks any sort of distinction.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|