The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Little Fockers

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Chick-O-Meter-yellow-smChick-O-Meter-yellow-smChick-O-Meter-grey-smChick-O-Meter-grey-smChick-O-Meter-grey-sm  Judy Thorburn

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First, there was the very funny 'Meet the Fockers' in 2000, which begot a followup, 'Meet the Parents', both directed by Jay Roach. Now, the third film of the Focker series has Paul Weitz (About a Boy ) at the helm with the cast including Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Robert DeNiro, Blythe Danner , Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand returning for yet another episode of humorous family interactions. Sorry, but  in this case, number three is not the charm. Instead, it is by far the weakest, though not a total disaster, since I did laugh a couple of times.  

The title 'Little Fockers', implies the story is centered on Greg (aka Gaylord) and Pam's (Stiller and Polo) twin kids, a boy and a girl and their fifth birthday celebration. While the event unites the Focker and Byrnes in laws with their kids and grandchildren, don't be fooled. This installment centers more on the adults rather than the little tykes. In other words, expect more of the same kind of silly shenanigans, from the grown ups that filled the previous two flicks.

As the story opens we find that cash strapped, male nurse Greg has taken a side job moonlighting for a drug company. Enter pretty, extremely perky pharmaceutical rep, named Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba) eager to push her company's latest Viagra-like drug, “Sustengo” and get Greg, whom she calls a "superstar", to talk about it at a cross country convention.

Meanwhile, former CIA agent Jack Byrne (De Niro) is still a suspicious as ever of the man his daughter married, especially since his other daughter recently separated from her cheating husband. Suffering from chest pains and an impending heart attack, Jack is looking for a replacement as family patriach when he is gone. Now that his other son in law is out of the picture, he wants to pass the torch to Greg and make him (you guessed it) God Focker, if Greg can prove trustworthy and capable. With the inclusion of Andi as the temptress, it is easy to predict that the attractive single woman, with more interest in Greg than he asked for, gets entangled into the scheme of things, causing Jack to believe Greg is having an affair with her.

Owen Wilson is back as Pam's former boyfriend, Kevin, an eternally optimistic, new age type, investment banker who still has a thing for her. Laura Dern is wasted, showing up in a small role as the head of 'Early Humans', an expensive children's school, and Harvey Keitel has a cameo as a building contractor working on Greg and Pam's new house. No doubt, Keitel agreed to the part in order to reteam on screen with his friend De Niro. Sadly, their scene together makes no impact and is not worth talking about.

As for the Focker in-laws, they have little to do. Bernie (Hoffman), going through a phase of man-opause, shows up after returning from a trip to Spain were he went to master flamenco dancing. His sex therapist wife, Roz (Streisand) is the host of her own successful cable TV show and after watching and listening to Roz's advice on how to spice up a marriage, Jack's wife, Dina (Danner) takes a clue and uses it in the most humorous and believable scene in the film.

Other than that sweet and funny sequence, Little Fockers suffers from one contrived situation after another consisting of requisite misunderstandings, pratfalls and some crude and painful sight gags (especially the one involving Greg's young son walking in to the right place at the wrong time), most which you can see coming a mile away.

Unfortunately, the battle of wits and back and forth banter between Greg and Jack, which used to be hysterical has become tired and worn out.

Speaking of tired, it might be time to put the baby to rest. In my opinion, we have had enough “focking” around. If I know the filmmakers,  there may be yet another visit to the Focker/Byrne family on the horizon. Just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if the next chapter has Streisand and Danner leading the cast of Mother Fockers. Remember, you heard it here first.