Director: Paul Weitz
Cast: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson,
Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Barbra Streisand, Jessica Alba, Laura
Dern, Harvey Keitel, Dustin Hoffman, Raven-Symone, Daisy Tahan
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual Humour)
Official Website: http://www.littlefockers.net/
Opening Day: 23 December 2010
test of wills between Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) and Greg
Focker (Ben Stiller) escalates to new heights of comedy in
the third installment of the blockbuster series - "Little
Fockers." Laura Dern, Jessica Alba and Harvey Keitel
join the returning all-star cast for a new chapter of the
worldwide hit franchise.
It has taken 10 years, two little Fockers
with wife Pam (Polo) and countless hurdles for Greg to finally
get "in" with his tightly wound father-in-law, Jack.
After the cash-strapped dad takes a job moonlighting for a
drug company, however, Jack's suspicions about his favorite
male nurse come roaring back.
Greg and Pam's entire clan - including Pam's lovelorn ex,
Kevin (Owen Wilson) - descends for the twins' birthday party,
Greg must prove to the skeptical Jack that he's fully capable
as the man of the house. But with all the misunderstandings,
spying and covert missions, will Greg pass Jack's final test
and become the family's next patriarch... or will the circle
of trust be broken for good?
“Little Fockers” was always going to be the inevitable three-quel, seeing as how the US$55mil original “Meet the Parents” made a surprisingly sweet US$330mil worldwide and its US$80mil sequel “Meet the Fockers” amassed even more. So here we are, six years after the events of the last film, with Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam (Teri Polo) settled down with twins, their children’s fifth birthday party the excuse for a reunion between old foes.
The contest of wills between the distrustful and intimidating ex-CIA agent Jack Brynes (Robert De Niro) and his hapless son-in-law cum male nurse Greg (Ben Stiller) has always been the cornerstone of the “Meet the Parents” movies; and despite some distractions with Greg’s hedonistic and particularly libidinous parents (played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) in the sequel, the focus is now squarely back to the simmering tension between father and son-in-law.
That tension starts all over again when Jack begins to suspect that Greg isn’t up to the task of being “the Godfocker”, the one entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the Brynes family line. The complications in between are both old- the return of Pam’s wealthy ex-lover Kevin (Owen Wilson) whom Jack openly favours- and new- the pharmaceutical rep (Jessica Alba) with the hots for Greg and whom Jack suspects Greg is having an affair with, culminating in a mano-a-mano fight between Jack and Greg in a ball pool at the party.
Though their rivalry has just about lost its novelty, De Niro and Stiller still go at each other like pros, and the result if not as fresh is just as amusing. Pity then that the script by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey resorts too conveniently to cheap sexual gags revolving around some erectile dysfunctional drug Alba’s drug rep is selling, including a genuinely low-brow sequence where Greg has to inject Jack in the privates after Jack’s overdose on the Viagra-like pills. Both De Niro and Stiller play along gamely, and their fearlessness is the main reason these physical gags are still hilarious to watch.
Ditto the rest of the ensemble cast- Teri as the sweet supportive wife Pam, Blythe Danner as Jack’s wife- who return dutifully to fill out their previous roles but are even more under-utilised than before. Worse still, Dustin and Barbra have been reduced to mere cameos who appear at the start and the end of the movie; and even newcomer Harvey Keitel only gets a brief scene with De Niro in a wink-wink reunion of the two actors whose movies together include classics like “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver”.
Such a gathering of talents should definitely have accounted for more, but unfortunately the material doesn’t quite match up to their comedic abilities. What’s more, director Paul Weitz (“American Pie”, “About A Boy”)- taking over the reins from Jay Roach- opts ever too easily on broad slapstick of the “Gaylord Focker” kind, eschewing the more sophisticated laughs in discomfort, awkwardness and humiliation that were a hallmark of its predecessors. Yet if the film still remains a pleasurable delight, it is thanks to the obvious familiarity amongst members of the returning cast with their roles, clearly evident in the outstanding onscreen dynamics between their respective characters.
And despite its title, “Little Fockers” really isn’t about the five-year-old twins (played by Daisy Tahan and Colin Baiocchi), but rather the adults around them that we’ve come to know through the earlier two movies. Rather than coming up with something new, the film throws up more of the same-old and familiar from its predecessors- Pam’s ex-flame Kevin, the sexually open Focker parents and of course, the continuous tension between Jack and Greg. But thanks to the excellent cast, this third instalment, while no longer fresh or inventive, remains amusing and even hilarious at times.
(It’s more of the same in this third instalment, but the star-studded cast makes the most of the well-worn material for laughs)
Review by Gabriel Chong