Sunday, June 26, 2011

Little Fockers

Directed by Paul Weitz.
2010. Rated PG-13, 98 minutes.
Ben Stiller
Robert De Niro
Teri Polo
Owen Wilson
Dustin Hoffman
Barbara Streisand
Jessica Alba
Blythe Danner
Laura Dern
Kevin Hart
Daisy Tahan
Colin Baiocchi
Thomas McCarthy

We all know someone like this. He’s normally a nice guy. You like him, well enough. One day, he tells a hilarious story. It’s literally a knee-slapper, might be the funniest thing you’ve ever heard. This is Meet the Parents. A few months go past and he tells the story again. This time he adds some details he left out the first time, giving it just enough twist to get you cracking up all over again. This is Meet the Fockers. After a few more months, he pulls out that story again. He tries switching it up a bit, but you quickly realize its just the same story and it is no longer funny. To make matters worse it’s now his “go to.” Anytime there’s a break in the conversation he starts up with it. That, my friends, is Little Fockers.

With the passage of time, our tale has a few inevitable wrinkles. Gaylord Focker, AKA Greg (Stiller) and his wife Pam (Polo) now have a set of twins about turn five years old. He’s now head nurse at the hospital. His mom Roz (Streisand) now hosts a talk show where she gives sex advice. His dad Bernie (Hoffman) is feeling neglected and is off in Spain learning to dance the Flamingo. Pam’s mom is feeling much the same way, sort of. She really just wants to get laid more often. That’s the job of Jack (De Niro), self-proclaimed protector of the Byrnes family name.

At first, things seem great with Greg firmly entrenched in the circle of trust. Shortly, Jack suspects Greg as having an affair and we’re back to square one. Jack mercilessly trying to find out the truth while Greg gets bent out of shape ensues. By that, I mean anything involving these two guys consists larely of recycling the jokes of the first two movies. By the way, the person Jack thinks Greg is sleeping with is pharmaceutical rep Andy Garcia played by sometimes “it” girl Jessica Alba. Immediately upon meeting her, we realize she is very purposely named after the male actor of the same name. We figure this out because they run that joke into the ground within about two minutes of her first showing up. Did he sign off on this?

Another recycled element is Kevin (Wilson) and his obsession with Pam. He’s actually planning to marry someone else. When that doesn’t work out, he pops by the Focker household to make Greg all sorts of uncomfortable, especially since Jack is rather fond of Kevin. Finally, we have the actual little Fockers. Despite the movie being named after them, they hardly figure in the proceedings. They are Samantha (Tahan) and Henry (Baiocchi). She refuses to talk to her dad because she’s just like Jack. Henry is basically a prop that constantly sees, hears or says things he shouldn’t.

The time when the movie focuses on something besides the infamous circle of trust, it is at its best. This is not nearly enough. Much more could’ve been done with the marriages of both sets of in-laws, including Jack’s health. More could also have been done with the children and their relationship with their grandparents. Instead, we heaping doses of Jack efforting to catch Greg in a lie, again, along with the prerequisite cheap body and/or sex humor. It’s just more and more of the same thing we’ve already had two helpings of, but it’s less than half as filling as it was before.

MY SCORE: 4/10

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