Okay if I’m having to implement a positivity rule for my movie watching, it’s only fair I implement it for my blog posting. Cause oof they’ve been heavy lately. It’s been well over a month since I’ve watched this, so we’ll see if I can pull out a full post for it.
But yeah, a few weeks ago, I had to call in an emergency comedy. I don’t know what was going on that day or why my anxiety was high and my mood was low, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in quarantine it’s to recognize those feels and remedy them with a happy movie. I wanted something that would guarantee a rise in spirits, but that I hadn’t seen so many times I would be numb to it. Lord only knows the last time I had seen this one, but sure, it was worth a shot. Turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Ben Stiller is typically known more for his over the top characters, in films like Zoolander or Dodgeball or Tropic Thunder. Generally speaking, I prefer my comedians in more grounded roles and I adored him as Greg Focker. It toes the line between realism and extreme silliness just right. Yeah some of the situations are a little tough to suspend disbelief, but his reactions to them are very human, so it keeps it in balance. And he’s not afraid to let himself be humiliated. He takes every gag in stride and carries the film with grace.
I would also list this as one of Robert DeNiro’s best performances. Yes, he’s known almost exclusively for serious roles, particularly tough guys. No one ever talks about his comedy skillz, but man he’s got chops. It’s a travesty that he doesn’t take advantage of it more often.
Ultimately this film works so well, and has lasted so long, because it’s all well intentioned. Nobody is out to get anyone else or use its comedy in a disparaging way. It’s a very heartfelt story with relatable (if somewhat extreme) characters, and it’s genuinely funny. The sequels sorta drop off in quality, but who’d blame ya for wanting to spend more time with the extended Focker family