Meet the Parents is a 2000 American comedy film written by James Herzfeld and John Hamburg and directed by Jay Roach. Starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, the film chronicles a series of unfortunate events that befall a good-hearted but hapless male nurse while visiting his girlfriend's parents. Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, and Owen Wilson also star. Meet the Parents is a remake of a 1992 film of the same name directed by Greg Glienna. Glienna who also played the main protagonist and Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote the screenplay. Universal Studios purchased the rights to Glienna's film with the intent of creating a new version. Jim Herzfeld expanded the original script but development was halted for some time. Jay Roach read the expanded script and expressed his desire to direct the film but Universal declined him. At that time, Steven Spielberg was interested in directing the film while Jim Carrey was interested in playing the lead role. The studio only offered the film to Jay Roach once Spielberg and Carrey left the project. Released in the United States and Canada on October 6, 2000 and distributed by Universal Studios, the film earned back its initial budget of $55 million in only eleven days. It went on to become one of the highest grossing films of 2000, earning over $160 million in North America and over $330 million worldwide. Meet the Parents was well received by film critics and viewers alike, winning several awards and earning additional nominations. Ben Stiller won two comedy awards for his performance and the film was chosen as the Favorite Comedy Motion Picture at the 2001 People's Choice Awards. The success of Meet the Parents inspired a 2004 sequel titled Meet the Fockers. In 2007, Universal Studios announced another sequel titled Little Fockers. Meet the Parents also inspired a reality television show titled Meet My Folks and a situation comedy titled In-Laws, both of them debuting on NBC in 2002.
Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) is a nurse living in Chicago. He intends to propose to his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo), but his plan is disrupted when he and Pam are invited to the wedding of Pam's sister, Debbie (Nicole DeHuff), at Pam's parents' house in the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island. Greg decides to propose to Pam in front of her family but this plan is put on hold when the airline company loses his luggage which contains the engagement ring. At the Byrnes family home, Greg meets Pam's father Jack (Robert De Niro), mother Dina (Blythe Danner) and their beloved cat Mr. Jinx. Jack takes an instant dislike towards Greg and openly criticizes Greg for his choice of career as a male nurse and anything else he sees as a difference between Greg and the Byrnes family. Greg tries to impress Jack but his efforts fail. Greg becomes even more uncomfortable after he receives an impromptu lie detector test from Jack and later learns from Pam that her father is a retired CIA operative. Meeting the rest of Pam's family and friends, Greg still feels like an outsider. Despite efforts to impress the family, Greg's inadvertent actions make him an easy target for ridicule and anger. He accidentally causes Debbie a broken nose and a black eye during a volleyball mishap, uses a malfunctioning toilet which floods the Byrnes' back yard with sewage, sets the wedding altar on fire, and inadvertently leads Jack to believe he is a marijuana user. Later, Greg loses Jinx and replaces him with a stray whose tail he spray paints to make him look like Mr. Jinx. By now, the entire Byrnes family, including Pam, agrees that it is best for Greg to leave Long Island until the wedding concludes. Unwillingly, Greg goes to LaGuardia Airport where he is detained by airport security for insisting that his bag stay with him rather than be checked. Back at the Byrnes household, Jack tries to convince Pam that Greg was lying to her about everything. He claims to be unable to find proof of anyone named "Greg Focker" ever taking the Medical College Admission Test which Greg claimed he had passed with the initial intention of becoming a doctor. Upon learning that Greg's real first name is Gaylord, and being presented with proof from Pam that he did in fact pass the test, Jack rushes to the airport, convinces airport security to release Greg and brings him back to the Byrnes household. As Greg is proposing to Pam, Jack and Dina listen in on their conversation from another room, agreeing that they should now meet Greg's parents. After Debbie's wedding, Jack views footage of Greg recorded by hidden cameras that he had placed strategically around the house.