Meet the Parents appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, Parents offered a problematic transfer.
Sharpness caused many of the concerns, and obvious edge haloes exacerbated the lack of definition. Close-ups demonstrated adequate clarity, but anything wider seemed soft and fuzzy.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, but Parents appeared to demonstrate weird use of noise reduction. While the film came with ample grain, it appeared that the transfer actually stripped the movie of grain via noise reduction and then slapped “fake grain” back on top of it.
That left the image as a worst of both worlds. It came with ugly grain – which often seemed frozen in place – while it also demonstrated the mushy, waxy tendencies that come with noise reduction.
At least the image lacked print flaws. Maybe a speck or two popped up, but no prominent issues materialized in that domain.
While I didn’t expect dynamic hues from the film’s natural palette, I hoped they’d look more dynamic than they did. The colors came across as bland and muddy.
Blacks looked crushed and dull, while shadows appeared murky. This ended up as a surprisingly poor presentation.
Don’t expect much from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Meet the Parents either. The very definition of a “comedy mix”, the soundtrack stayed largely located in the front.
The music showed good stereo imaging, and various environmental effects spread well across the channels. Don’t expect much life or activity, though, and the surrounds remained fairly passive during most of the movies. A few comedic set pieces brought the rears to life in a modest way, but there wasn’t anything that created much liveliness.
Audio quality was acceptable. Dialogue appeared fairly natural, without edginess or other concerns.
Effects felt clean and accurate, though they did little to push the system. The music was reasonably bright and lively. Nothing excelled here, but the mix felt adequate for a comedy.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD? The lossless audio offered improvements, as the DTS-HD mix felt clearer and less distorted than the DVD’s track.
Visuals became a different matter, as the Blu-ray’s problems limited its improvements. The BD looked cleaner, and the superior capabilities of the format allowed it to bring a modest step up, but the BD came with too many issues for it to be an obvious upgrade.
The Blu-ray mixes extras from the original 2001 from DVD and the Special Edition from 2004. We open with an audio commentary from director Jay Roach and editor Jon Poll, both of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific track.
The pair cover many story issues like cut sequences and alterations from the script, improvisation, pacing, and character concerns. A few other topics like casting, working with the actors, locations and sets, and general anecdotes also pop up, but story issues dominate.
That makes sense given Poll’s presence; even though Roach dominates, the pairing with his editor tilts the proceedings toward storytelling concerns. A great deal of good information appears in this very solid commentary.
Taken from the 2001 DVD, we find a second commentary from director Jay Roach, producer Jane Rosenthal and actors Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. Connected via conference call, all four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the title sequence, sets and locations, cast and performances, editing and alterations to the script, and related domains.
Expect Roach and Stiller to dominate the track, as Rosenthal and De Niro appear semi-infrequently. Roach tries hard to draw out De Niro, but he only enjoys sporadic participation, as De Niro tells us little.
Roach and Stiller make this a decent but less than stellar chat. Much of the information already appears in the other commentary, so only a handful of new notes materialize. This never becomes a bad track, but it seems dry and somewhat redundant after the much superior Roach/Poll chat.
Also from the 2001 DVD, Spotlight on Location goes for 24 minutes, 17 seconds. It includes notes from Roach, Stiller, Rosenthal, De Niro, and actors Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, James Rebhorn, Thomas McCarthy, Jon Abrahams, Nicole DeHuff, and Phyllis George.
They discuss characters and story, cast and performances, and thoughts about the shoot. This is a basic promotional puff piece, so it throws out lots of happy talk and movie clips but little real content.
A collection of outtakes runs 17 minutes, 56 seconds. That’s a lot of bloopers, but don’t expect anything more than the usual goofs and giggles. A little of this stuff goes a long way, so these become tiresome well before they end.
The package includes two deleted scenes. “Itinerary/Surf & Turd Scene” goes for one minute, 23 seconds, while “Crawlspace” lasts one minute, 58 seconds.
The latter is a bit slow and tedious and wouldn’t have added much to the movie. “Itinerary” is pretty funny, so it probably should have made the final cut.
Both clips can be viewed with or without commentary from Roach and Poll. They offer the appropriate info about where the scenes would have fit into the movie and why they were cut.
Amusingly, Poll protests the inclusion of the sequences, as he thinks they excised them for a reason and the movie should stand on its own. Roach, on the other hand, likes being able to show some bits on which they worked hard.
De Niro Unplugged takes only one minute, 33 seconds. It offers a mix of outtake and deleted scene, as we watch De Niro sing at the wedding reception. It’s moderately fun to see at best.
Three featurettes follow. In The Truth About Lying, we get a look at the real-life use of polygraph machines. The six-minute, 41-second program includes remarks from licensed polygraph technician Nick Savastano as he discusses the device and how to accurately utilize it.
He also addresses the film’s depiction of the issues. Despite a few too many movie clips, the show provides an informative chat.
Next we find Silly Cat Tricks. It takes five minutes, 33 seconds to focus on cat training.
We find notes from animal trainer Dawn Barkan as she chats about getting the felines cast in the film plus issues connected to training cats and their work on the movie set. As with “Lying”, this show goes through the necessary topics in a concise and interesting manner.
In addition to the film’s trailer, Jay Roach: A Director’s Profile runs a mere one minute, 16 seconds. It’s a bizarre compilation of shots of Roach on the set that works as a crude music video. Skip this pointless piece.
Never did Meet the Parents threaten to knock me over with brilliance, but it maintained enough humor and cleverness to work. A good cast supported a fun premise to make the film mostly enjoyable. The Blu-ray presents surprisingly drab picture and audio plus a pretty good set of extras. Though the movie entertains, the Blu-ray desperately needs a remaster.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of MEET THE PARENTS