Meet The Fockers Movie Review

If the thought of seeing Robert DeNiro strapping on a homemade rubber breast to feed a coddled baby sounds side-splittingly hilarious to you, then "Meet the Fockers" may be worth running out to see in theaters.

But if you're more pained by the idea of watching a formerly great actor embarrass himself in an infantile, desperately uncreative sequel that will do anything for a cheap laugh, just imagine 2000's "Meet the Parents" remade with the comedy sensibilities of a 12-year-old. That way you won't have to sit through Ben Stiller's sixth nearly identical performance this year.

Seemingly tired of his own worn-out schtick, Stiller half-heartedly mugs for the camera in anxious, eyebrow-stitching baby faces as he nervously introduces his retired-hippie parents, Bernie and Roz Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand), to DeNiro's Jack Byrnes, the intimidating ex-CIA spook who is soon to be his father-in-law. But other than making Stiller's folks embarrassing polar opposites of stiff, serious straight-man DeNiro (Hoffman is full of hugs, Streisand teaches tantric sex to septuagenarians), "Fockers" just recycles plot points from its predecessor (DeNiro interrogates and spies on Stiller throughout) and culls obvious jokes from the uncomfortable circumstances.

Combining road trip gags (Stiller and fiancée Teri Polo travel with DeNiro and wife Blythe Danner in their Kevlar-armored monster RV), toilet humor (Hoffman's pet Pomeranian falls into the mobile-home's blue-water john) and stretching one-off japes into entire subplots (Stiller accidentally teaches a baby to say a bad word), returning director Jay Roach goes to so much trouble setting up his jokes that every punchline in the picture can be spotted on the horizon minutes -- if not whole reels -- ahead of time. The worst of it comes when DeNiro injects Stiller with a "truth serum" that makes him act drunk and spill his guts at an engagement party.

But the primary downfall of "Meet the Fockers" (and yes, the almost-dirty last name is still a running gag) is that all of its ill-at-ease comical circumstances are dependent on the characters being dishonest, secretive ninnies, which makes it hard to care about any of them as they're force-fed trite Sunday School lessons about communication and trust.

If it weren't for Streisand's touch-of-madcap performance that amusingly melds doting Jewish mother caricature with over-the-top open sexuality ("I didn't raise you to be a so-so lover!" she scolds Stiller), it would have been hard to make it all the way through "Meet the Fockers."

Comments

Meet The Fockers Rating

" Hmmm "

Rating: PG-13, WIDE: Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Advertisement

More Ben Stiller

Robin Williams And Ben Stiller Re-Unite For More Magical Mayhem In 'Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb' [Trailer + Pictures]

Another treat is in store for movie fans this Christmas as the family favourite Night At The Museum returns for a third and final instalment....

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Trailer

Following on from the discovery that New York Natural History Museum's exhibits come to life after dark, security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is faced...

Cara Delevingne In Talks For Lead Role in 'Zoolander 2'

Cara Delevingne, the British supermodel who made her acting debut in Anna Karenina, is being linked to the lead role in a sequel of Ben...

Stand Up To Cancer Reveals Its Incredible Celebrity Line-Up

Stand Up To Cancer aims to reiterate the point that everyone is connected and everyone can be affected by cancer with their every-two-year telethon which...

Advertisement

The Final Projects Of Robin Williams

The death of acting legend and comedic master, Robin Williams, has prompted many tributes from colleagues, friends, family and fans to pour in from around...

Mickey Rooney Dies Aged 93: Remembering The Child Star And Screen Legend

Mickey Rooney, star of the big screen for 88 years, has passed away aged 93 after a long illness, according to Variety. He died on...

A Week In Movies: Stiller and Williams film in rainy London, while trailers debut for Brosnan, Owen, Rio and Maleficent

In the lull between big awards shows, media attention turns to Super Bowl halftime performances and adverts, while award-nominated actors and filmmakers travel around the...

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Movie Review

One of those swoony American dramas that explores life in all its wondrousness, this film will quickly annoy more cynical viewers. But others will find...

Advertisement