For all their justified critical acclaim down the years, it comes as a shock to learn that Martin Scorsese's three great films "Mean Streets", "Taxi Driver", and "Raging Bull", were commercial duds on release. Of course, over time they have gathered just a few pennies. Translated, this might mean that Robert De Niro only became box office gold when he turned to comedy, to parodying his own intense machismo in "Analyze This".
He has gone even further in "Meet the Parents" where, not content to rest on his parodic laurels, he has used his ferocity to build a unique comic character, Jack, an ultra-conservative, judgemental, and weird father, who sniffs disapprovingly at Greg (Ben Stiller), his daughter's man of choice. Greg, in turn, is desperate to find a small moment to ask Jack for his daughter's hand. Thus the hilarious polarity is set up between authoritarian and liberal, big guy and little guy, WASP and Jew. Every stinging remark and sarcastic one-liner of Jack's produces crisis in Greg and chaos at home.
Director Jay Roach, who made both the "Austin Powers" films, allows himself plenty of time to build-up great comic ideas, which switch seamlessly from screwball to slapstick to wit. Look out for Jack reading a poem, his idea of marriage proposal, and Greg's notion of milking the cat. There's not a weak scene in this super-funny picture and - for those of you who missed "Analyze This" - Robert De Niro proves that he is as natural and creative a comic actor as Ben Stiller. A five star hoot.