Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
|Featuring:||Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner|
|Producer:||Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Productions, Robert De Niro, Jay Roach|
“And you thought your parents were embarassing.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “The makers and stars behind the runaway hit of 2000, ‘Meet the Parents,’ are re-united-and joined by some formidable future in-laws-in the follow-up comedy, ‘Meet the Fockers.’
Now that Greg Focker (Stiller) is “in” with his soon-to-be in-laws, Jack (De Niro) and Dina (Danner) Byrnes, it looks like smooth sailing for him and his fiancée, Pam (Polo). But that’s before Pam’s parents meet Greg’s parents, Bernie and Roz Focker (Hoffman and Streisand). The hyper-relaxed Fockers and the tightly-wound Byrneses are woefully mismatched from the start.”
Read our review of the prequel to this movie, “Meet the Parents”
The surprise you may experience from hearing this family’s unfortunate last name matches the surprise you may experience regarding the content in “Meet the Fockers.” It’s obvious that the makers of this sequel have run wild with the idea that this obscure last name seems to suggest, and made these people highly overt, sexual people. All throughout this story, from the theme to random jokes, the filmmakers are engrossed with ideas and humor revolving around this subject matter.
With some passage of time between “Meet the Parents,” “Meet the Fockers” begins with Greg (Ben Stiller) and his fiancée Pam (Teri Polo) meeting up with her parents Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina Byrnes (Blythe Danner) to drive down to Florida to meet Greg’s parents. Everything starts off in their favor until they finally arrive in Coconut Grove and encounter Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Focker (Barbara Streisand), who create a conflict of lifestyle, personality and temperament completely opposite of the Byrnes family. Keeping the same farcical feel as the first film, this sequel strives to settle the same dispute about whether or not Greg and Pam should marry.
The most objectionable aspect of this film is the sexual humor. There really isn’t any nudity, but the constant talk of sex and everything revolving around it is very prevalent. For instance, in the beginning, we find that Roz Focker is a sex therapist for elderly people. When we first see her, she is leading her class and instructing them on how to work together physically. Everything is intended to be humorous, but it seems that this film has dropped to a low echelon of comedy in order to get laughs. Aside from this, there is also a touch of foul language.
Probably the best part of the entire movie was seeing Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman play opposite of each other. Having Bernie (Hoffman) be the sensitive, overly encouraging-father-type clash with the strict, conservative, former CIA agent Jack (Deniro) was a great contrast. There are some fun moments between them, but certainly not enough.
This story maintains Greg (and sometimes Pam) as the focus of the story, but the creators of this sequel should have given the young couple even more of a back seat role in order to highlight the dynamic contrast between their parents. This kind of focus, plus less course joking could have made the movie far greater.
One strong image that this movie provides is when Jack changes his mind and his attitude and realizes what a jerk he has been. At this, he slams on the brakes in his RV and turns it completely around in the middle of the road. It was an amazing stunt having this enormous vehicle skid and spin like it did, but it also provides a great picture of what it means to repent. Jack was being completely stubborn and traveling in one direction, and then changes his mind, turns and goes the complete opposite direction—a great image of repentance.
“Meet the Fockers” plays off of a lot of the same jokes, situations and conflicts established in the first film. It would have been better to see them move away from the conflict of Jack being suspicious of Greg (which was resolved in the first movie) and show more conflict between the two sets of parents. This sequel is entertaining in some new ways, but it ultimately holds to the same formula as the first. Lots of potential here, but in the end sold a bit short.
Reviews of other films in this series: