The First "Meet the Parents"

June 6, 2013 Erik Ernst Leave a Comment

Director’s Cut guest host Doug Gordon checks in with a blog post about this week’s film, “Meet the Parents.” Watch it and his interview with filmmaker Greg Glienna Friday June 7 at 10 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television.

Jerry Lewis once said that “The premise of all comedy is a man in trouble”; Greg Glienna took that to heart when he made his 1992 indie comedy, “Meet the Parents.” If the title sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that — the 2000 blockbuster, “Meet the Parents,” starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, is based on Greg’s film.

And while the De Niro/Stiller version made a lot more money (over $160 million in North America and more than $330 million worldwide), that doesn’t necessarily mean that bigger is better. Film producer Elliot Grove included Greg’s original version on his Top Ten list of favorite films; Grove wrote that it was “much funnier and tighter than the Hollywood version.”

I enjoyed the film immensely and it answers a question that I had never given any thought to until I watched “Meet the Parents” — What would it be like if silent film comedy legend Harold Lloyd collaborated with Frank Kafka on a movie? True, Greg’s character doesn’t turn into a giant insect but that would probably be preferable to the indignities and humiliation that he suffers over the course of the surreal storyline of “Meet the Parents.”

I had the pleasure of talking to Greg about “Meet the Parents” and his experiences co-writing the screenplay and starring in the film, as well as directing it. We also talked about Steven Soderbergh’s interest in directing a remake of the film. I’ve always enjoyed black comedies and comedies don’t get much blacker than “Meet the Parents.”

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