Meet the Parents (1992) – By Cary Conley

I must confess that I’m not really a fan of comedies.  Sure, I’ll watch one on occasion, but they aren’t my first choice in film.   I also have to admit that I have never seen the Robert DeNiro version of Meet the Parents (from 2000), either.  The movie ads looked cute, but I just never felt the need to sit down and watch it.  But if the remake is as funny as the original, I’ve missed a terrific film, so I guess I’ll have to look it up as well.  And apparently I’m pretty lucky to have seen the original film; according to the large fan base on the World Wide Web, since the rights were bought by Hollywood, the original can’t have a true release, so for right now it is very hard to come by.

Because I haven’t seen the Hollywood version, I have nothing to compare the storyline to, so I don’t know how faithful the remake is to the original indie version.  Co-writer and director Greg Glienna stars as Greg, a young man who is going to meet his fiancée’s parents for the very first time.  But things quickly go awry—and badly.  It starts with an overflowing toilet, which is merely embarrassing for Greg, but everything goes to hell in a handbasket from there.  Greg becomes a comedy of errors as he has fluke accidents like hooking his future mother-in-law’s eye with a fishing rod, having the bad luck to wreck his future father-in-law’s car (by a hit-and-run driver, no less), and accidentally choosing the only Andy Griffith porno ever made to watch with his future in-laws.  All this while he dodges his fiancé’s creepy sister while she hits on him, plants drugs in his overnight bag, and keeps pestering him to help her get a chance to hit it big by going on Star Search.

And I’m only scratching the surface of what can only be described as the single worst weekend I’ve ever seen in a movie!  You know, it occurred to me that I must be a really sick person because I was absolutely riveted to my seat waiting to see what the next disaster to occur to our hero would be.  I cringed as I watched the set-ups for each minor disaster, and then laughed out loud when it actually occurred.  In a way, it was like watching a teen slasher flick.  We’ve all watched those films when we talk to the screen and told the characters, “Don’t go in there…don’t open that door,” because we know what will happen when they do.  I found myself doing the same thing with Greg.  I begged him to stop swinging his hands because I knew he would knock over the urn with Grandma’s ashes in it.  I implored him not to throw the stick in the ocean because I knew a shark would eat the dog (actually, it was never explained how the dog disappeared, so I’m embellishing a little bit…).  But the point remains the same:  I was so caught up in the absurdity of each situation that I was literally talking to the characters on screen.

Glienna is a very talented guy and his script is very funny, if a bit predictable.  But being able to predict each accident is half the fun.  The acting ranges from average to really good and the comedic scenes are terrific.  I also have to give Glienna props for having the guts to end the film on a real downer.  While I don’t want to give the ending away entirely, I will say that poor Greg drives someone to suicide and he leaves without his girl. I bet that part didn’t make into the Hollywood version of the film, huh?

Unfortunately, this film remains unreleased—and will most likely remain so—and is very hard to find, so it is quite likely that unless you catch it at a film festival screening, you may never get to see the REAL Meet the Parents, which is too bad, because it is a riot!