Meet the Parents (series)

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Meet the Parents
The Biggest Focker Collection Ever.jpg
Directed by Jay Roach (1 & 2)
Paul Weitz (3)
Produced by Robert De Niro
Jane Rosenthal
Jay Roach
Starring Robert De Niro
Ben Stiller
Teri Polo
Blythe Danner
Owen Wilson
Dustin Hoffman
Barbra Streisand
(More)
Music by Randy Newman (1 & 2)
Stephen Trask (3)
Cinematography Peter James (1)
John Schwartzman
Remi Adefarasin
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Studios
DreamWorks (1 & 2)
Paramount Pictures (3)
Release dates
1: October 6, 2000 (2000-10-06)
2: December 22, 2004
3: December 22, 2010
Running time
321 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Films[edit]

Meet the Parents (2000)[edit]

Main article: Meet the Parents

Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) is a nurse living in Chicago. He intends to propose to his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo), but his plan is disrupted when he learns that Pam's sister's fiance had asked Pam's father for permission before proposing. Greg and Pam travel to Pam's parents' house to attend Pam's sister's wedding. Greg hopes to propose to Pam in front of her family after receiving her father's permission. But this plan is put on hold when the airline loses his luggage, including the engagement ring.

At the Byrnes' home, Greg meets Pam's father Jack (Robert De Niro), mother Dina (Blythe Danner) and their beloved cat Mr. Jinx. Jack takes an instant dislike to Greg and openly criticizes him for his choice of career as a male nurse and whatever else he sees as a difference between Greg and the Byrnes family. Greg tries to impress Jack, but his efforts fail. Greg becomes even more uncomfortable after he receives an impromptu lie detector test from Jack and later learns from Pam that her father is a retired CIA counterintelligence officer.

Meeting the rest of Pam's family and friends, Greg still feels like an outsider. Despite efforts to impress the family, Greg's inadvertent actions make him an easy target for ridicule and anger: He accidentally gives Pam's sister a black eye during a volleyball mishap; uses a malfunctioning toilet that floods the Byrnes' back yard with sewage; sets the wedding altar on fire and inadvertently leads Jack to think he is a marijuana user. Later, Greg loses Jinx and replaces him with a stray whose tail he spray paints to make him look like Mr. Jinx. Also after Greg spray-paints the cat's tail the cat is left alone in the house while the whole family are out and when the family arrive home they find that the cat has damaged and destroyed all the wedding possessions. It is then that the truth is revealed about the cat and everybody especially Jack is absolutely furious with Greg with the fact that he's almost ruined the whole wedding.

Jack denies turning Pam against Greg, saying that Greg did that himself though his dishonesty. Jack says he always demands honesty, which is when Greg reveals to Pam that Jack never retired and is still in the CIA. Jack is forced to admit that he is right. Unfortunately for Greg the incident in which he caught Jack with one of his associates and carrying out a phonecall in Thai was actually Jack preparing a surprise honeymoon for Pam's sister and her fiance which makes him more angrier at Greg than ever. Jack reveals that the person he met at the supermarket was his travel-agent and he was receiving Debbie and her fiance's visas.

By now, the entire Byrnes family, including Pam, agrees that it is best for Greg to leave. Unwillingly, Greg goes to the airport where he is detained by airport security for refusing to check in his recently returned luggage. Back at the Byrnes household, Jack tries to convince his wife and Pam that Greg would be an unsuitable husband. Upon receiving retribution from both his wife and Pam, Jack realizes that Pam truly loves Greg. Jack rushes to the airport, convinces airport security to release Greg and brings him back to the Byrnes household.

Greg proposes to Pam. She accepts, and her parents agree that they should now meet Greg's parents. After Debbie's wedding, Jack views footage of Greg recorded by hidden cameras that he had placed strategically around their house. As Jack watches Greg and hears what Greg has to say, Jack gets furious at Greg for the insults towards Jack and his son Deny, who Jack believes is still innocent with the drugs. Jack then turns the TV off with hostility dreading the fact that Greg is going to be his future Son-in-Law.

Meet the Fockers (2004)[edit]

Main article: Meet the Fockers

Gaylord Myron "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) and his fiancée Pam Byrnes (Polo) decide to introduce their parents to each other. They first fly to Oyster Bay, Long Island, to pick up Pam's father, retired CIA operative Jack Byrnes (De Niro), her mother Dina (Danner) and one-year-old nephew Little Jack. But rather than going to the airport as planned, Jack decides to drive the family to Miami to meet the Fockers in his new RV.

Once they arrive, they are greeted by Greg's eccentric but fun-loving and amiable father, Bernie (Hoffman), and mother, Roz (Streisand), who is a sex therapist for elder couples. Worried that Jack may be put off by the Fockers' lifestyle, Greg convinces Roz to pretend that she is a yoga instructor for the weekend. Though Jack and Bernie get off to a good start, small cracks begin to form between Jack and the Fockers, due to their contrasting personalities. Things are made worse when a chase between the Fockers' dog, Moses, and the Byrns' cat, Jinx, culminates with Jinx flushing Moses down the RV's toilet, forcing Bernie to destroy it to save Moses, and later on when Bernie accidentally injures Jack's back during a game of football.

Pam, meanwhile, informs Greg that she is pregnant, but the two decide to keep it a secret from Jack, who does not know they are having sex. Jack, however, becomes suspicious of Greg's character again when they are introduced to the Focker's housekeeper, Isabel Villalobos (Alanna Ubach), with whom Bernie reveals Greg had a sexual affair fifteen years before. Jack later takes the RV to Isabel's fifteen-year-old son, Jorge (Ray Santiago), to fix the toilet, but is disturbed by Jorge's striking resemblance to Greg and begins to suspect he may be Greg's son with Isabel. Meanwhile, Roz, Bernie and Dina realize Pam is pregnant, but promise not to tell Jack. Growing envious of Bernie and Roz's active sex life, Dina consults Roz on sex tips in order to seduce Jack, but none of them work.

Things eventually come to a crunch when Greg is left alone to babysit Little Jack, whom Jack has been raising via the Ferber method. Despite Jack's instructions to leave Little Jack to self-soothe, Greg cannot bear to listen to Little Jack's cries and tends to the boy to cheer him up, turning the television on, acting funny and inadvertently teaching Little Jack to say "asshole". A brief phone call from Roz is long enough for Little Jack to wander out of his pen (after Jinx opens it by accident), put on Scarface and glue his hands to a rum bottle. After a furious argument with the Fockers and his own family (though amends are quickly made), Jack reverts to his old ways and sends Greg and Jorge's hair samples for a DNA test, while inviting Jorge to the Focker's planned engagement party in hopes of getting Greg to admit he is Jorge's father.

At the engagement party, Jack introduces Greg to Jorge, and later when Greg refuses to admit Jorge is his son, Jack injects him with a truth serum to make him talk. On stage, Greg blurts out that Pam is pregnant and that Jorge is indeed his son (in a comically Darth Vader-esque manner) before finally passing out. When the others realize Jack's actions the next day, another argument ensues and Dina admits that they all knew Pam was pregnant and deliberately did not tell him. Shocked and hurt by this, Jack leaves with his grandson. Bernie and Greg give pursuit, but are tasered and arrested by a corrupt deputy sheriff, LeFlore (Tim Blake Nelson), for speeding. Jack returns to defend them after being informed Greg is not Jorge's father (his real father turns out to be a baseball player who also resembles Greg), but the overzealous LeFlore tasers and arrests him as well. In their cell, Greg, Jack and Bernie make up and are released by the local judge, Ira (Shelley Berman), who is a student of Roz and close friend of the Focker family.

Greg and Pam are married that weekend by Pam's ex-fiancée (Owen Wilson). During the party, Jack asks Roz for some sex tips and sneaks into the RV with Dina.

During the credits, Jack watches hidden baby-cam footage of the Fockers giving attention to Little Jack over Jack's previous objections: Roz gives Little Jack chocolate, Bernie advises him to use his crying to disagree with everything Jack says, and Greg pretends to drunkenly tell Little Jack to keep it a secret that he left to smoke pot, not answer the phone, when he left Little Jack unattended which resulted in Jack gluing his hands to a rum bottle and that Pam is not really pregnant and only said it so that Jack would let them get married. Greg then pretends to only just discover the camera but then after making mocking gestures at it, you realize that Greg knew about it all along and none of the things he said before were true.

Little Fockers (2010)[edit]

Main article: Little Fockers

Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Stiller) is preparing to celebrate his twins' fifth birthday party. Things seem to go awry when Greg's father-in-law Jack Byrnes (De Niro) visits. Recently, Jack has been diagnosed with a heart condition and become embittered by his daughter Debbie's divorce from her husband, Bob (whose marriage was the social event in Meet the Parents and how Jack was introduced to Greg), for cheating on her with a nurse. Jack's plan was originally to name Bob as his successor of the Byrnes family, but decides to pass the role to Greg, naming him "The Godfocker". Despite Greg begrudgingly accepting the role, Jack begins to suspect Greg of infidelity when he sees him with a drug rep, Andi Garcia (Alba), who openly flirts with him, and the presence of Sustengo erection pills in Greg's house, which prompts Jack to think Greg is no longer sexually attracted to his wife, Pam (Polo). Furthermore, Jack starts to doubt Greg's ability to provide for his family when he appears reluctant to send his children to a private school.

During a medical conference promoting Sustengo, Greg meets Bob at a bar. Bob tells Greg of Jack's original intention to name him as successor, "The Bobfather", and expresses relief and happiness at leaving Jack's family, which makes Greg slightly uncomfortable. Jack, for his part, starts to speak with Pam about the possibility of divorcing Greg and renewing her relationship with her ex-fiancée, Kevin Rawley (Wilson). Eventually, following a row at a clinic, Greg runs away from home to his and Pam's unfinished new house, where he is paid a visit by Andi, who tries to cheer him up with takeout and wine, but Andi soon becomes so drunk that she makes an aggressive sexual pass at Greg. While looking for Greg to apologise and bring him home, Jack pulls up to the house and sees, through the window, what he believes to be Greg and Andi having sex while Greg is trying to rebuff Andi's advances. Disgusted, Jack merely leaves, but tells Dina and Pam that he was unable to find Greg.

At the twins' birthday party, Greg's parents, Bernie (Hoffman) and Roz (Streisand) rejoin the family, but Jack, enraged at Greg's apparent infidelity, engages Greg in a physical fight, despite Greg insisting that Andi was drunk and he was rebuffing her. The fight culminates with Jack having a heart attack and collapsing. As he is taken away by paramedics, Jack quietly admits that he now believes Greg after feeling his carotid artery, which remained stable while Greg was claiming his innocence.

Four months later on Christmas Day, Greg and Pam's parents come to spend Christmas with them in their new house. Greg's parents (who are Jewish) give Jack a present of a kippah, informing him they traced his family roots back while nursing him back to health, discovering he is part Jewish. Bernie informs Greg and Pam that he and Roz have sold their island home and are moving to Chicago only two houses down from theirs. Jack and Dina decide they will move too, because they also want to be close to their grandchildren. The film ends with Greg and Pam trying to wean their parents off the idea.

During the credits, Jack is back in his home on Long Island, and with Mr. Jinx watches a video of Greg on YouTube in which Greg, at the Sustengo conference, mentions Jack's eccentric behavior. Jack then discovers a remixed version of the video using puns of several of the words in the video, much to Jack's slight amusement.

Legacy[edit]

The success of Meet the Parents was initially responsible for a 2002 NBC reality television show entitled Meet My Folks in which a young woman's love interest, vying for her family's approval, is interrogated by the woman's overprotective father with the help of a lie detector machine.[1][2] In September 2002, NBC also aired a situation comedy entitled In-Laws. During the development of the sitcom, NBC called it "a Meet the Parents project" which prompted an investigation by Universal into whether NBC was infringing on Universal's copyright.[3] Universal did not pursue any action against NBC but neither show lasted more than one season.

On July 18, 2005, a regularly scheduled American Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, had to be diverted back to Fort Lauderdale shortly after take-off due to a bomb threat. The pilot turned the airplane around approximately 40 minutes into the flight after a flight attendant found a crumpled napkin that read "Bomb, bomb, bomb ... meet the parents," a clear reference to the scene in which Ben Stiller's character repeatedly shouts the word "bomb" while being detained by airport security.[4][5] The airplane was met by a bomb squad of the local sheriff's office as well as the FBI whose agents questioned the plane's 176 passengers about the note.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Meet the Parents 84% (146 reviews) 73 (33 reviews)
Meet the Fockers 38% (157 reviews) 41 (34 reviews)
Little Fockers 10% (144 reviews) 27 (32 reviews)
Average ratings 44% 47

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget Reference
Box Office Foreign Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Meet the Parents October 26, 2000 (2000-10-26) $166,244,045 $164,200,000 $330,444,045 196 242 $55,000,000 N/A
Meet the Fockers December 22, 2004 (2004-12-22) $279,261,160 $237,381,779 $516,642,939 58 103 $80,000,000 N/A
Little Fockers December 22, 2010 (2010-12-22) $148,438,600 $162,211,985 $310,650,585 241 268 $100,000,000 N/A
Total $593,943,805 $563,793,764 $1,157,737,569 495 613 $235,000,000 N/A

Recurring characters[edit]

Character Films
Meet the Parents Meet the Fockers Little Fockers
Jack Tiberius Byrnes Robert De Niro
Gaylord Myron "Greg" Focker Ben Stiller
Pamela "Pam" Martha Byrnes Teri Polo
Dina Byrnes Blythe Danner
Kevin Rawley Owen Wilson
Bernard "Bernie" Focker Dustin Hoffman
Rosalind "Roz" Focker Barbra Streisand
Isabel Villalobos Alanna Ubach
Jorge Villalobos Ray Santiago
Andi Garcia Jessica Alba
Prudence Simmons Laura Dern
Randy Weir Harvey Keitel
Nurse Louis Kevin Hart
Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gallo, Phil. Meet My Folks, Variety, July 21, 2002. Accessed May 27, 2008.
  2. ^ Fenwick, Alexandra. Meet My Folks brings a fiance's worst nightmare to television, The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, September 13, 2002. Accessed October 10, 2008.
  3. ^ Lynette Rice and Dan Snierson. On the Air, Entertainment Weekly, August 9, 2002. Accessed October 10, 2008.
  4. ^ Candiotti, Susan. Suspicious note diverts flight, CNN, July 19, 2005. Accessed August 14, 2009.
  5. ^ Carey, Bridget. Bomb Threat Diverts American Airlines Flight Back to Fla, Associated Press. Accessed August 14, 2009.

External links[edit]