‘Meet the Parents’: Day by Day… by Day…

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The “Greg Says Grace” scene of Meet the Parents

The dreaded in-laws… There’s an old adage that you’re not just marrying your spouse, you’re marrying their family. That means you may soon have some combination of a brother-, sister-, mother-, and… father-in-law. Such is the case in Meet the Parents for male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) who is all set to propose to his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo) during a weekend at her parents’ home. But there’s a catch: Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), Pam’s intimidating, cat-loving, ex-CIA father, who takes an immediate disliking to his daughter’s truth-bending beau.

The 2000 comedy, directed by Jay Roach (much more on him later), delivers numerous cringe-inducing scenes as Greg tries to fit in with his future in-laws. At the dinner table, Greg, who is Jewish, is asked by Jack to say Grace. “I’d love to. I’ve said Grace at many a dinner table,” he says.

Watch the famous “Greg Says Grace” scene

It’s time to eat! As they’re enjoying their meal, his future in-laws start querying Greg about the home he grew up in. He’s forced to backpedal on something he had told Jack earlier. “I didn’t actually grow up on a farm, per se,” he says, as he starts to dig himself into a deeper hole with each spontaneous sentence he utters.

Did you know you could milk a cat?

Greg eventually meets Kevin, Pam’s ex-fiancée (played perfectly by Owen Wilson), who’s an expert at pretty much everything. It’s, of course, impossible for Greg to match Kevin’s charm and skill, and Jack relishes in his future son-in-law’s discomfort.

It’s time to play water volleyball in Kevin’s pool and for Greg to try to elevate his game.

After one too many unintended mishaps, Greg ultimately leaves the family’s Long Island home. At the airport, he encounters a gate attendant who delights in tormenting him when he tries to board his plane.

Stiller, born November 30, 1965, was 34 years-old when the film was released on October 6, 2000. It earned a reported $330 million at the box-office. Its success led to two sequel’s 2004’s Meet the Fockers and 2010’s Little Fockers.

Jay Roach had already directed the first two Austin Powers films when he made Meet the Parents. Since then he has directed the HBO film Recount about the 2000 U.S. presidential election, for which he earned two Emmy Awards, and Game Change, the HBO film about the 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign. He also directed the third (and so far) final installment of the Austin Powers series. He is married to none other than Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles.

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