HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

Meet the Fockers

When we last left Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro) in Meet the Parents, he had begrudgingly accepted that perhaps he was too uptight. In dealing with his daughter's fiancé, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller), his CIA training had made him too suspicious, too anal retentive and to audiences, too whacko to ever allow his family happiness. Lesson learned, right?


You see, Meet the Parents, a cute but overrated comedy, did fairly well at the box office by riffing off of DeNiro's image for comedic effect. So a sequel has to mean more of the same, only bigger. To sort of cover for the reset, Meet the Fockers gives Jack a grandchild whose development he is trying to protect from untoward influences, coupled with putting him in an environment calculated to make him as uncomfortable as possible.

Director Jay Roach almost fools us at the start. Preparing for a trip to Florida with the Byrnes, things go startlingly well for Greg. The only fly in the ointment is an inability to get ahold of his parents - one of the few repetitive gags that works, as their answering machine message consists of them yelling at each other about chimichangas.

Once Greg gets to Jack's house, though, it's back to business as usual, where Jack seems to accept Greg for about ten seconds. To be fair, after two years, even daughter Pam (Teri Polo) seems way too willing to close Greg out when her father is around. Making matters worse, the grandkid with conveniently absent parents (Spencer and Bradley Pickren) has taken an instant dislike to Greg due to gender confusion - Greg is a nurse and nurses should be women. Even an infant knows that...especially one with a ridiculously overdeveloped breast fixation that moves from amusing to flat out disturbing.

Except for that weird bit with the kid, the jokes seem harmless enough. True, screenwriters John Hamburg and Jim Herzfeld wring as many puns out of the family surname as they possibly can. And The Fockers (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) are as opposite from Jack as you might imagine, especially Bernie.

Though Greg claimed his father was a lawyer in order to make him seem more likable to Jack, Bernie quit his practice to be a stay-at-home dad. To further freak out the ex-CIA man, mom Roz works as a sex therapist. Dina Byrnes (the elegant Blythe Danner), however, becomes very curious when that particular truth gets revealed.

The film offers few surprises, with most set pieces playing out the way you would imagine them. Yet when it's not busy making DeNiro look uptight, Meet the Fockers has a loopy relaxed charm. Most of that comes from Hoffman and Streisand looking like they're actually having a lot of fun with this movie, which allows Danner to loosen up a bit, too.

Stiller also has toned down his urban angst act for this movie. Maybe hanging around Owen Wilson will do that to a guy. Unlike most of Stiller's tense characters, however, it's completely understandable why Greg Focker walks on pins and needles of embarassment. It's still a vivid enough character that Roach could direct teen actor Ray Santiago in a recognizable imitation without it seeming parody.

The third act has trouble making it all the way home, with a climax that seems rushed and choppy. Somewhere in there, Roach meant to make a running gag about state troopers all looking alike, but it ends up wasting fine comic actors like Tim Blake Nelson and J.P. Manoux (the robot in Eurotrip) under bushy mustaches and sunglasses. For personal reasons, the movie gets points for giving veteran comic Shelley Berman something to do.

Meet the Fockers will no doubt please a lot of people. It's just lacking a spark to push it past agreeable passing of time and into even halfway-memorable comedy.


Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites