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Meet the Fockers

Universal // PG-13 // December 22, 2004
List Price: Unknown

Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted December 24, 2004 | E-mail the Author
If you don't already know, Meet the Fockers is the sequel to the Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro comedy, Meet the Parents. The original movie was a great slapstick adaptation of one of life's scariest moments, meeting your future in-laws. If you haven't seen this movie, be sure to check out my review of Meet the Parents: Bonus Edition. You'll want to be familiar with it, because there are several references to the previous movie in Meet the Fockers. If you head into this movie blindly, you'll miss out on a number of jokes. And trust me, if you plan on seeing Meet the Fockers, you'll need to catch every single one to enjoy it. Why? Because the movie isn't always that funny and it relies a little too much on jokes from the original.

Meet the Fockers starts off with a completely different tone than its prequel. Instead of Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) getting into one horrendous situation after another, everything seems to work out perfectly. Of course, it all changes when Greg and his fiancé's parents meet. From that first moment, it's disaster after disaster. Conveniently (for the movie), Greg and Pam's parents are extreme opposites of each other. As we know from the first movie, Pam's parents are very conservative and in this sequel, we learn about Greg's very loose and easygoing folks. Problems immediately arise when personalities clash.

I wasn't very happy with the movie. There were some really hilarious moments, but they seemed a rarity. The movie's overall tempo felt a little too slow, which was more or less because many of the outrageous situations that occurred were a little bit over the top. Instead one good joke after another, there were far too many jokes that came off lackluster. It left the movie moving very slowly. It tried too hard to obtain the same comical elegance the original had.

One way that this was accomplished was by making several references throughout the entire movie to the prequel and repeating a few jokes. One of the biggest repeated jokes included the strong emphasis on the name 'Focker', because it resembles 'Fucker'. If you combine it with other words like 'Gay' or 'Martha' (over and over again), it's really funny annoying. Other jokes include the return of Jinx the cat, which is complimented by a dog that likes to hump things. Of course, there are some new developments in Meet the Fockers. One includes a baby, who becomes a central point for laughs. Jack's grandson Little Jack gets haphazardly thrown in several jokes and the comical effect comes from the cuteness of the situation.

Another difficult I had with this movie was De Niro's role as Jack Byrnes. In the original movie, I felt that his conservative and direct demeanor came off very funny. The way that he interacted with Greg was great. In the sequel, De Niro and Stiller still have some pretty good chemistry together, but it isn't anything like in the original. The problem is that De Niro's character seems to act and react in the same manner in every situation, which quickly becomes a bore. This goes for De Niro interacting with the other characters too.

On a positive note, one aspect that I really enjoyed was how Greg repeatedly made a complete ass of himself. Sure it was done to death in the prequel, but it's still very funny. It is accomplished in a variety of ways, which include his parents embarrassing him without any consideration and Greg just making a fool out of himself. Another wonderful aspect of this movie includes Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as Greg's parents. They give an absolutely wonderful performance, which is very comical. However, their roles are occasionally a bit too much. For instance, Streisand plays a sex therapist that specializes in dealing with senior citizens. There are a few great situations to emerge from that one fact, but at the same time several of them feel over the top.

Overall, I just wasn't that happy with this movie. I really enjoyed Meet the Parents, but this sequel fails to recreate the same ambiance and the comedy comes off a little too forced. However, considering that there actually are some really great moments I strongly feel that this movie is worth watching. These great jokes I dare not mention, because they'll leave you laughing your ass off. There is also a cameo appearance with Owen Wilson that is to die for. Anyways, if you end up seeing Meet the Fockers, be sure to check out Meet the Parents first.



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