MEET THE PARENTS: LITTLE FOCKERS
It has been ten long years, but finally male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) seems to have been embraced in the ‘Circle of Trust’ by his paranoid, ex-CIA father-in-law Jack (Robert De Niro). The twins Henry (Colin Baiocchi) and Sam (Daisy Tahan) are about to turn five, and Greg and wife Pam (Teri Polo) are planning a mega birthday bash. Jack is secretly worried about his heart, and although he keeps his palpitations from his wife Dina (Blythe Danner), decides to tell Greg, who is trying to prove he is capable of being the Man of the House. When gorgeous pharmaceutical rep Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba) offers Greg a lucrative opportunity to endorse a new erectile dysfunction tablet, he agrees, hoping to ease the financial burden, but Jack starts getting suspicious. Meanwhile Pam’s Zen ex-lover Kevin (Owen Wilson) arrives, together with Greg’s hippie parents Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Focker (Barbra Streisand).
Review by Louise Keller:
Better than the second film, but not as good as the first, Little Fockers, the third in the series clutches at the concept of a dysfunctional family and milks it for all its worth. The elements remain the same – namely the clash between Ben Stiller’s earnest Greg Focker and his paranoid ex-CIA father-in-law Jack (Robert De Niro). Director Chris Weitz takes over where Jay Roach left off in the previous films and the result is a low-brow family comedy with a wonderful cast offering a few morsels of hilarity and many that are cringe worthy.
Family relationships are difficult and the humour lies in the truth of the subject matter and the fact we are able to laugh knowingly at awkward situations we recognise.
De Niro has honed this character perfectly; he is almost a caricature of himself as his Jack points his two fingers at Greg with a knowing look in his eye, as he says ‘I’m watching you’. In fact throughout the film, they’re intently watching each other – often with ridiculous results. Like the scene in which Jack follows Greg at night on a pretext of buying some milk, when he harbours suspicions his son-in-law is about to be unfaithful with the luscious Jessica Alba. Alba has a natural flair for comedy; she can flaunt sex without being sexy, if you get my drift. Jack still has his gorgeous fluffy cat Mr Jinx, this time involved in another mission involving a pet lizard called Arthur.
Stiller plays uptight to perfection and I felt stressed just watching him try to keep his life afloat. The scene when he agrees to be the ‘Godfocker’ is nicely conceived and well delivered. Those obvious attentions that Owen Wilson’s Kevin bestows on his wife are also the source of much angst. We constantly feel as though we are living through Greg’s nightmare, surrounded by crazies, including his own family. His relaxed father Bernie has been learning flamenco dancing in Seville and his sexologist mother Roz (Streisand with tight curls, tinted glasses and gold chains) is promoting musical condoms. Harvey Keitel also appears in a cameo as a dubious building contractor whose schedule fails to meet the birthday party deadline while Laura Dern plays the vague Early Human School headmistress, where the little Fockers will be schooled.
There’s an enema, vomiting, spurting blood, poop jokes, whoopee cushions and an erectile dysfunction, which is the film’s ultimate low point. The scene in which the five year old opens the bathroom door to witness his father about to resolve the bulging problem in his grandfather’s pyjama pants is not a pretty sight.
If the family is getting on each other’s nerves at Christmas time, it might be opportune to introduce them to the Little Fockers. As the saying goes, the family that laughs together…
Published first in the Sun-Herald
Email this article
MEET THE PARENTS: LITTLE FOCKERS (TBA)
CAST: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, Jessica Alba, Laura Dern, Harvey Keitel, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand
PRODUCER: Robert De Niro, John Hamburg, Jay Roach, Jane Rosenthal
DIRECTOR: Paul Weitz
SCRIPT: John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey (screenplay by John Hamburg)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Remi Adefarasin
EDITOR: Greg Hayden, Leslie Jones, Myron I. Kerstein
MUSIC: Stephen Trask
PRODUCTION DESIGN: William Arnold
RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2010