December 24, 2010
Review - " Little Fockers " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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married and as the beginning of the third movie indicates, there is no real problem.
Many years have passed in the Focker household. Little Fockers finds male nurse Gaylord “Greg” Focker (Stiller) and his
wife Pam (Polo) raising twins Samantha (Tahan) and Henry (Baiocchi) in a suburb of Chicago. Facing mounting bills and
about to move into a new house, Greg agrees to shill an erectile-dysfunction drug for attractive pharmaceutical rep Andi
Garcia (Alba). At the start of the film, the twins’ birthday is fast approaching, meaning that grandparents and friends will soon
be arriving in Chicago. The birthday is complicated by two factors, however. Principally, that Pam’s father Jack (De Niro) has
a minor heart attack and deems it necessary to select a patriarch to lead the family’s next generation, and decides to hand
the role to Greg. In order for Greg to attain this title, however, Jack has to consider him worthy, which leads to meddling,
spying and background checks. On top of this, Pam’s insufferable ex-boyfriend Kevin (Wilson) has dropped in for a visit.
The strangely marginalized little Fockers in "Little
Fockers" are played by Daisy Tahan, of "Nurse
Jackie," and Colin Baiocchi, who was the funniest
part of "Couples Retreat". These little Fockers,
despite the title, remain sidelined in what passes
for the comic complications of this third film in an
extremely profitable series begun with a pretty good
picture, "Meet the Parents." The sole memorable
scene involving a little Focker in "Little Fockers,"
involves Stiller's male-nurse character administering
a needle full of adrenaline to his dyspeptic and
unhappily aroused father-in-law Jack Byrnes who
has taken an overdose of a Viagra-like pills and in
goes the needle, and there's the preteen boy at the
bathroom door, suddenly, not quite sure of what's
going on between his father and grandfather, and
everybody screams in a comical way.
Alba and Laura Dern. Jessica Alba plays a minxy drug rep who tempts Stiller's character.
while plot and story are not a strong suit in the case of "Little Fockers" and whith Jack being mistrustful of Greg is highly
reminiscent of the previous movies, this second sequel nonetheless delivers its fair share of laughs (including a very
amusing Jaws homage). After a slow start, the
movie eventually settles into an amiable groove
and holds steady, remaining entertaining until the
very end. Though anyone expecting start-to-finish
laughter will most likely walk away disappointed.
There are a few sections which are devoid of
genuine laughs. However, Little Fockers at least
never grows excruciating in between the fun.
While there seemed to be a handful of good ideas,
the movie could have struck comedy gold by digging
a little deeper. In spite of this, it seems like the
Focker family is going to be milked as much as
possible as the end of "Little Fockers" leaves
speculation that yet another sequel will be in the
making. When it comes to harmless family
entertainment, you could do far worse than this.
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Starring: Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand,
Dustin Hoffman, Blythe Danner, Colin Baiocchi
Back in 2000, Meet the Parents earned big bucks at the box office
by pitting Ben Stiller’s patented tightly-wound schlub persona
against Robert De Niro’s potentially homicidal tough-guy persona.
See, the former persona wanted to propose to the daughter of the
latter persona, and hence hilarity ensued. While Meet the Parents
was highly enjoyable, the 2004 sequel Meet the Fockers arguably
improved upon the formula, as De Niro’s outlandish suspicions and
sabotage at long last met their match in the face of Stiller’s
freewheeling hippie parents. The next logical step in the series
was to introduce children into the equation, and 2010’s Little
Fockers complies with this logic.
"Little Fockers" is a continuation of "Meet the Parents" and "Meet
the Fockers," two comedies in which Greg Focker (Stiller) goes
through hoops to please his tough father-in-law, Jack (DeNiro.)
Throughout the films Greg struggles to let his good qualities shine
through in spite of his clumsy ways and free-spirited parents.
While "Little Fockers" does have its laughs, it does not measure
up to the original film and its sequel for two reasons: not enough
conflict, which means there isn't enough comedy either.
In the first film the main conflict is getting the in-laws to like him. In
the second it involves getting the in-laws to like his parents. All the
while Jack dangles membership into his "circle of trust" over Greg's
head. By the end of the second film Greg and his girlfriend get
Unsurprisingly, Stiller and De Niro kept doing their
usual shtick here. Stiller neither stands out nor
underwhelms, while De Niro gets a fair amount of
laughs. For all of De Niro’s attempts at self-parody,
his character of Jack Byrnes remains vividly-
rendered. And De Niro has a scene in which he
fights with Harvey Keitel. It’s doubtful this is the old-
age reunion that De Niro and Keitel imagined while
working together on Taxi Driver back in the ’70s.
Also in the cast is Owen Wilson, who has more
screen-time than ever as Kevin. Wilson leaned on
his usual shtick here, and the result is a
serviceable but unremarkable performance.
Despite her role amounting to a glorified cameo,
Blythe Danner is her usual endearing self as Dina
Byrnes, while Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand
are often amusing but underused. Delivering more
effectively in the laughs department are Jessica