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Review – Little Fockers

Click poster for more info.

Click poster for more info.

With Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner. Directed by Paul Weitz. Rated PG-13 for mature sexual humor throughout, language and some drug content. 98 minutes.

What terrible thing have moviegoers done to deserve yet a third outing in this series of alleged comedies? There may have been a germ of an idea in “Meet The Parents” (itself a remake), but by now it’s blossomed into a raging disease. Avoid this toxic waste dump of a movie, and do something less painful – like getting kicked by a mule. Considering how bad the movie is, it is a small wonder that any of the principal actors involved haven’t started bailing out yet, because no one can possibly be proud of being associated with a movie like LITTLE FOCKERS.

From its smirking title – see, Ben Stiller’s character is Greg Focker – to the return of Owen Wilson at his oiliest, this is the “Saw” of holiday comedies. Now with two children, Greg works as a nurse (snicker) but he’s been promoted to an administrative role. A sexy drug rep (Jessica Alba) wants to pay him the money he’ll need for private school tuition for his kids to represent a new erectile dysfunction drug. One can imagine the high-fives among the filmmakers when they realized this gave them a source for humor beside projectile vomiting and Greg’s father-in-law Jack (Robert De Niro) wishing his daughter Pam (Teri Polo) had done better.

The plot, such as it is, focuses on the struggle between Greg and Jack as to who is the head of the family. It leads to the scene where the two of them check out a private school for the kids and the headmistress (Laura Dern) assumes they are a couple. Wow, haven’t seen any homosexual panic jokes for a while. Where ever do they get their ideas?

In fact, the basic idea remains the idea that Greg has to be humiliated at every turn. A low point is reached when their friend Kevin (Wilson) arrives and it is revealed he has a tattoo of Pam’s face on his back. He makes it very clear that he’s ready to move in should Greg stumble. In the original film there was at least the idea that a fiancé meeting prospective in-laws can be a time of comic tension, even if the film exploited it with the lamest of jokes. Now the series is off the deep end with Kevin even making a play for Greg’s mother (Barbara Streisand) and his father (Dustin Hoffman) off in Spain to study flamenco dancing.

About the only thing of interest – and very small interest at that – is that it reunites De Niro with his “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver” co-star Harvey Keitel who has a couple of scenes as a building contractor working for Greg. (They also appeared together in the little-seen 2004 film “The Bridge Of San Luis Rey.”) It’s a nice bit of trivia but not even Martin Scorsese could have made something worthwhile out of this material. Consider “Little Fockers” a stocking full of coal from the filmmakers to you.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 1.5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books, the most recent being I’ll Have What She’s Having: Behind The Scenes Of The Great Romantic Comedies. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Somerville.


About Daniel M. Kimmel

Film critic, author, lecturer.

3 responses »

  1. The first two movies of this franchise were outstandingly funny, perfectly crafted and mindblowingly funny. So the third one might not be that great.
    What’s the big deal?
    But associating these films with germs and diseases, the critic just shows an utter lack of respect for the involved actors/ directors and the moviegoers who love the “Meet the parents” franchise.
    And ” Meet the parents”, by the way, was not a remake, dear critic.

    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      These are three dreadful movies. I make no apologies for noting that.

      And I have no respect for the perpetrators of these cinematic crimes, at least insofar as these films go, and make no apology for that.

      The claim that the first film was a remake was added in the editing process, and for that I apologize.

  2. Make no apologies on my account. I actually had some laugh out loud moments during the first of the Focker series, “Meet the Parents”. The joke was in the name and after that, it was over. I can’t bear Barbara Streisand in any way, shape or form but out of curiosity, watched some of “Meet the Fockers” . It was absolutely dreadful and stank of high school toilet humor. “Little Fockers”? I expected worse and Mr. Kimmel has confirmed my fears.

    To comment on Robert De Niro, I rather enjoy seeing stars of his stature clowning for the camera. The serious nature of the roles of his youth are such a contrast to his played for laughs over the top serious Focker character and that I find that in itself amusing.


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