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Meet the Fockers /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner

Directed by: Jay Roach

Produced by: Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Jay Roach
Written by:
Jim Herzfeld, John Hamburg, Vince Di Meglio, Tim Rasmussen
Distributor: Universal Pictures




     Meet the Parents, the now infamous 2000 comedy which inspired this sequel, had humor which thrived on all of the embarrassing situations were bombarded by. With each darkly comedic moment that protagonist Gaylord “Greg” Focker (Ben Stiller) and his fiancé, Pam Byrnes, ran into, as they fought the wrath of her controlling father, Jack (Robert DeNiro), the more I laughed. Their dopey fight to win Daddy’s Blessing still remains one of the funniest films of the new millennium. Every time I watch the movie, I chuckle endlessly.

     Pam’s parents ultimately came to approving of she and Greg’s impending marriage, by the end of Meet the Parents. This time around, as hinted in the first film, it’s time for the Focker and Byrnes families to become acquainted. As expected, this meet-and-greet of sorts proves to be quite awkward, and offers plenty of laughs. While Pam’s mother and father are very proper, Bernie and Roz Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Steisand) are…well…not. He’s a former lawyer who hangs around the house all day experimenting with weird, kung-fu-like exercises and she’s a therapist, specializing in the sexuality of seniors.

     The first film was amusing enough to be forgiven for whatever narrative areas it lacked in. Meet the Fockers, while still very funny, was not humorous enough for me to oversee its sitcomy plot, when watching it. The transitions between scenes seem clunky and, at 115 minutes, there are a lot of bland moments that accompany the comical ones. Admittedly, I think the movie may have worked better as a mini-series on television than a feature-length film.

     Many have said that they found parts of Meet the Fockers offensive, particularly a scene in which the Focker and Byrnes families discuss Greg’s first sexual experiences with his nanny, as a teenager, over dinner. To be honest, I thought that these passages were much more tasteful than the average sequences of crudeness, even though many of them aren’t very funny.

     Out of all of the cast members, Streisand fares the best. In Meet the Focker’s case, the more uncomfortable the material is for the characters, the better. Some of Roz Focker’s outrageous dialogue about sex is downright hysterical, in just this way, as it batters Greg with embarrassment and shocks Jack in its graphicness. Alongside Streisand, Hoffman is less likeable, and often annoying. He seems to always be playing the same character, nowadays. (Not to mention, they all seem to be named Bernie, too). The leads of Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro, do not share as much chemistry here as they did in the first movie, but there’s still a lot of life to be found in their interactions.

     Even with its fair share of solid jokes, Meet the Fockers will be much more enjoyable on the small-screen, in a couple of months. It’s a simplistic by-the-numbers sequel, which just so happens to have several inspired moments of humor.  One thing’s for sure: if it didn’t have such a memorable predecessor, Meet the Fockers, would’ve been entirely forgettable, even if it is enjoyable.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (Posted in 12.28.2004-2.5.2005 Update)

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