Meet the Fockers (2004) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and a brief drug reference
Running Time: 114 min.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Teri Polo, Blyth Danner, Spencer Pickren, Bradley Pickren, Alanna Ubach, Ray Santiago, Owen Wilson, Tim Blake Nelson
Director: Jay Roach
Screenplay: John Hamburg, Jim Herzfeld
With crudeness in abundance, Meet the Fockers, the sequel to the hit comedy, Meet the Parents, has a few funny moments, but they seem lost amid some very tedious recurring jokes that just aren't very funny, no matter how low the writers seem willing to go. If you find humping dogs, potty-mouthed kids, people named "Dom Focker" or "Martha Focker", and old people simulating sex acts to be the heights of comedic glory, you may find much more to like than I did here. I'll admit, I chuckled now and then, but not as much as I sat in dumbfounded silence at just how much talent they were able to amass for a movie that works overtime in bad taste to try to squeeze out any laughs it can.
Not to spoil the first film for those who haven't seen it, but Gaylord Focker (Stiller, Dodgeball) and Pam Byrnes (Polo, Mystery Date) still haven't quite tied the knot despite getting the blessing from Pam's parents, Jack (De Niro, Shark Tale) and Dina (Danner). Jack states that despite his coming around, he wants to meet Gaylord's parents, Bernie (Hoffman, Finding Neverland) and Roz (Streisand) , before giving his final blessing on the union, so they travel to the keys of Florida to stay for a visit. Uptight, conservative Jack has issues early with the freewheeling, amorous liberal couple, causing great conflicts with his ability to condone his daughter's wish to wed.
Meet the Fockers, at close to two hours in length, is like listening to a some drunk guy telling a joke, taking far too long in the delivery, repeating himself, while also having to constantly step back to fill in information he left out long before. Basically, it is frustrating. As fun as it is to watch Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, who genuinely look like they are having a good time with the very light comedic material, they are let down by some sadly weak material. The actors actually do manage to elevate the poor script to a tolerable level for most of the film, but not enough to save it from some of the most painfully unfunny gags you've seen since... well, since the last Ben Stiller comedy.
To properly enjoy Meet the Fockers, you'll need these things: 1) to have seen and enjoyed Meet the Parents, 2) to like Ben Stiller comedies no matter how sophomoric they can be, and 3) to be in a giddy state going in, whether from drinking a six pack, taking a massive hit off of a bong, or perhaps just from being shaken too much as an infant to the point where you now find damn near everything funny. If these don't apply to you, then my advice is to stay as far away from this crass and redundant sequel. Now that we've met both sets of parents, here's hoping we never have to endure a family reunion.
©2004 Vince Leo