Ben Stiller wants to propose to sweetheart Teri Polo, but first he has to impress her dad –Robert De Niro. The weekend with the parents proceeds as one would expect a movie with BenStiller in the lead: disastrously. De Niro is an over-protective ex-CIA control freak, and Stillerinevitably finds the way to wreak the most humiliating havoc possible.
As the embarrassments mount, and yet more loom ominously over the horizon, you findyourself wishing you could look away… You are, however, laughing too hard to avert your eyes.The set-up is simple but very well executed. The one problem is Teri Polo’s character — she is sosingularly unhelpful in Stiller’s ordeal that one can’t help but wonder what in Heaven’s name hesees in her.
The audio options include 5.1 and DTS, but Universal need hardly have bothered — this isnot a film that is going to show off sound systems. The music has an excellent, room-fillingquality, and there is some decent surround here and there, but the dialogue-driven humour simplydoesn’t give the equipment that many opportunities to shine.
The picture has strong, natural colours and flesh tones, and good blacks. There is a little bitof grain, but not in any truly noticeable degree, and there is no visible edge enhancement. Theimage is sharp, though not quite at a top-rank level.
Astonishing: the features are “brought to you by EarthLink” (who make anti-spam software).What does this portend? In any event, the new features are largely a ton of outtakes, and a lazier,more boring extra is difficult to imagine. I can hear the conversation now: “What should we addto get people to buy this again?” “Hey, look, we have tons of junk footage lying around. Let’s usethat.” Anyway, if pure flubs aren’t enough for you, there’s more discarded material in the form ofdeleted scenes (with optional commentary by director Jay Roach and editor Jon Poll) and a bonusdeleted scene of De Niro singing at the wedding. The most useless extra, though is “Jay Roach:A Director’s Profile,” which is nothing of the kind, and is must a scored montage of shots of theman at work. Better extras are a short featurette on training the cat (“Silly Cat Tricks”), anotheron polygraphs (“The Truth About Lying”) and the commentary by Roach and Poll, which goesbeyond the technical and into thematic issues. The menu’s main screen and transitions areanimated and scored.
The film stands up well to a second viewing, but I’m not so sure if it does to a secondpurchase.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
- “Silly Cat Tricks” Featurette
- “The Truth About Lying” Featurette
- Robert De Niro Unplugged
- “Jay Roach: A Director’s Profile”