Meet the Parents

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Meet the Parents Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Crass comedy has lots of sex, profanity, drugs.
  • PG-13
  • 2000
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 29 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters insensitive to feelings of Jewish man, also deride his masculinity because he's a nurse. Greg tries to pass off a random shelter cat for a lost family pet. Greg loses his cool on an airplane and gets removed. Lots of lying and sneaking around by Jack, who mistrusts everyone and spies on everyone. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

For all the exaggerated faults, differences, and disasters that take place for the sake of comedy, the movie shows the difficulties many fathers face when they must let go of their daughters and the tensions that arise between these fathers and well-intentioned sons-in-law. 

Violence

Frequent comic peril and pratfalls. Greg's over-exuberance in water volleyball results in an injury to his girlfriend's sister, bloodying her nose and giving her a swollen-shut black eye. While trying to catch Jack's escaped cat, Greg starts a fire, causing destruction to the site where his girlfriend's sister's wedding was to be held. An overflowed septic tank's seepage into the yard results in a truck getting stuck and spraying fecal matter on the characters with its tires. Jack and Greg engage in reckless high-speed driving in one scene. 

Sex

After Greg loses his suitcase by the airline, he is given the wrong suitcase; Jack pries it open and discovers a variety of sex toys. While trying to initiate sex, Greg uses a pet name for his penis as he begins to fondle the breasts of his girlfriend. Greg inadvertently positions a nanny-cam so it's looking up the skirt of his girlfriend's mother. An ex-boyfriend of Greg's girlfriend tells him how she's a "tomcat." 

Language

Greg's last name is Focker, and the movie manages to work in numerous jokes that are a play on "f--k," including a joke made in a homophobic context. Frequent profanity, including "bitch," "s--t," "for Christ's sake." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teen boy is shown sneaking into his bedroom, spraying his clothes with deodorant, and putting eyedrops in his eyes, presumably to mask the smell and effects of smoking marijuana; it's later discovered that he has a marijuana pipe in his jacket. Thinking it's Greg, Jack starts making offhand references to different types of marijuana and makes a reference to quaaludes. Greg smokes cigarettes and tries to hide it. Alcohol consumption at dinner, parties, and a rehearsal dinner; one man is shown too drunk to drive, with slurred speech.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Meet the Parents is a 2000 movie in which Robert DeNiro plays an overprotective and snooping father to a daughter who has brought home a boyfriend played by Ben Stiller who is well-intentioned and eager to win her father's affections but seems to make the worst mistakes at the most inopportune times. This movie has some strong language (including "s--t"), especially in reference to Greg's unfortunate last name (Focker); drug use plus cigarette smoking by the main character; and potty humor -- a septic tank backs up on the lawn, for starters. There's plenty of lying, spying, and sneaking around by the main characters that they eventually all need to own up to -- like when Greg loses the cat and tries to replace it with a look-alike from the local shelter. While trying to initiate sex, Greg uses a pet name for his penis as he begins to fondle the breasts of his girlfriend. Greg inadvertently positions a nanny-cam so it's looking up the skirt of his girlfriend's mother. An ex-boyfriend of Greg's girlfriend tells him how she's a "tomcat." Homophobic and sexist jokes, along with comments about Greg's Jewish background.

Wondering if Meet the Parents is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBooedit81 December 29, 2018

Good but not quite appropriate

The movie itself was good put the profanity and sex alone could be enough to turn parents off.Multiple uses of b*** and sh** god d***
Adult Written byefqwwef May 11, 2020

adult matters with sex

plenty of sex topics or reffer to it:
1: "Is sex good?"
2: "I swore they were doing 'it'. "
3: "My parents did 'it... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 23, 2020

Very funny movie with lots of swearing jokes.

This movie has many swearing jokes. Greg's last name is Focker. And there is some sex jokes. There is also a lot of drinking. But, the movie does have many... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 3, 2020

What's the story?

In MEET THE PARENTS, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) loves Pam (Teri Polo) and wants to make a good impression on her father, Jack (Robert De Niro), who specializes in sweating the truth out of double agents in the CIA. Everything goes wrong. Jack's natural overprotectiveness meets with Greg's panicky clumsiness. The airline loses Greg's suitcase, so he has to borrow bizarre clothes -- enormous pants from Pam's brother, a tiny Speedo bathing suit from Pam's former fiancé. Greg is compared to Pam's sister's fiancé, a doctor, and to Pam's former boyfriend (Owen Wilson), now fabulously wealthy and still pining for her. Greg, who is Jewish, is asked to say grace at dinner and can only helplessly babble the lyrics from Godspell. And, in the movie's high point, Greg has to cope with the only situation more grueling than a terrifying in-law: airline bureaucracy.

Is it any good?

Depending on your sense of humor, this movie is either hilarious or agonizing or both. Written by the screenwriter of the awful Meet the Deedles (who will we meet next? The Fockers, of course) and from the director of Austin Powers, Meet the Parents is a sub-category of comedy that can only be termed "comedies of excruciation," in which we laugh at the hideously humiliating experiences of some poor sap. If this is your kind of humor, then this is your kind of movie.

There are many jokes about Greg's name (Focker, get it?) and his occupation (nurse, which isn't manly, get it?). Jokes center on a catheter, a "Mountie strap-on dildo," a cat who uses the toilet, a cat strung out on nicotine gum, a fire, and an overflowing septic tank. The scene in which Greg battles the airline rules is worth at least three stars on its own.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the kinds of laughs this comedy goes for. Is the humiliation of these characters funny? How does their dishonesty keep them from getting along? Why does Greg's stressed-out nature make him more susceptible to laughs at his expense? Does it bother you that Pam doesn't stand up to her father more? Is she contributing in some way to Greg's misery?

  • How does this movie mine humor out of exaggeration, in the situations and the relationships among the characters? How would the movie be different without that exaggeration? What are some examples of other movies in which exaggeration is employed for the sake of comedy? 

  • How was pratfall violence used in this movie? What are some other examples of movies with lots of pratfall violence? 

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate