Wednesday, December 29, 2010
This film suffers from a major case of false advertising. From the title you might be persuaded that Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro had passed their dysfunctional schtick along to the next generation, or that the film actually has something to do with the holiday season, when really it's just more of the same Meet The Parents shenanigans with an afterthought of a Christmas scene plonked on the end. That's ok, insofar as you're mostly spared little munchkins trying to do comedy, but why all the misdirection?
Director Paul Weitz (American Pie) and his all-star cast seem more than happy to continue riffing on the same ole' chords. If you can believe, it's been a six years since Meet the Fockers (and ten since the original Meet the Parents), and in that time Greg (Stiller) has risen up the ranks of hospital administration and is now being courted by a smoking hot drug rep (Love & Other Drugs style) Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba) to make some quick cash spruiking for an erectile dysfunction drug. The extra income comes at an opportune moment, for the ever over-bearing Jack (De Niro) has decided to shift the patriarchal crown over to his son-in-law, and in doing so heavily suggests Greg should get his finances in order and his kids into private schools. This leads to all manner of miscommunication as Greg and Jack tour the comically named Early Human School, run by the fiercely free spirited Prudence, in a scene-stealing cameo by Laura Dern. But this is as much as the film has to do with the little Fockers, as the rest is just elbowroom for Stiller, De Niro and the reintroduced Owen Wilson as Greg's wealthy, worldly rival Kevin, to muck around on screen.
And yet for all the telegraphed laughs and the mind-numbing obviousness of it all, there is actually something relatively fun about watching these guys chew the scenery with the likes of Harvey Keitel, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Blythe Danner. Everyone looks to be having a truckload of fun, newcomer Alba especially, so one can be forgiven for being swept up in the benign frivolity. But of course another way to look at the misleading marketing and Boxing Day release is as a blatant cash-grab, to which you can say 'Bah Humbug' and tell Stiller, De Niro and their Little Fockers to, well, you know.
Australian release date: 26 December 2010