The same tired old jokes and cliché miscommunication story lines3/10
Quality comedies -- if they go beyond one sequel -- never come in
threes. In the case of "Little Fockers," three's a Focking mess. But we
asked for it; "Meet the Fockers" ranks as the highest-grossing
live-action comedy in the U.S., so regardless of quality, we were going
to get whatever studios served us. And sure enough, "Little Fockers"
cooks up tired modern gags, basically forgetting that the last decade
of comedy (including its two predecessors) ever existed and that we
could be won over by open mentions of sex (ooh!) and recycled dick drug
It's several years later and Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri
Polo) live in Chicago with their twins, Henry and Samantha. Grandpa
Jack Byrnes (De Niro) has grown concerned over the Byrnes family legacy
as he's been having some heart issues lately and his first son-in- law,
Dr. Bob, has failed him after having an affair and getting a divorce.
As such, before he and wife Dina (Blythe Danner) arrive for the twins'
birthday, he tells Greg that he's ready to pass the torch to Greg,
who's eager but still scared about winning Jack's full approval and
becoming "The Godfocker."
The film focuses on Jack and Greg again, as expected, so among other
faults, the title "Little Fockers" is misleading. The kids are hardly
in the picture expect for cheap jokes and they're neither cute nor
talented. In a family dinner scene where Greg (with "Godfather" music
in the background) commands that Henry eat his lasagna, Henry succumbs
but then spews vomit all over his father. Whenever the film seems to
breeze about with a bit more of a sense of humor, a tasteless joke
shoots in that prompts us to do the same.
Contrivances and predictable story lines litter "Fockers" and damper
the occasional moments of humor. The familiarity we have with Greg and
Jack helps create that humor and some clever jokes actually do exist,
but the script leans on typical "misunderstanding" plot devices, most
of which were ironically used most effectively in "Meet the Parents"
and "Meet the Fockers." The whole idea of "if they worked once they'll
work again" does not apply. The "twists" of this film are set up so
conspicuously that as they unfold, it's like you know what happens
because you've seen it before. And you likely have, because there was
probably something similar in it from a previous "Focker" film.
Outside of Jack spying on Greg, who tries to keep it a secret that he's
trying to make extra cash by pushing a new erectile dysfunction drug
for a gorgeous drug rep (Jessica Alba), all the side characters and
plots are garbage. Owen Wilson returns as Kevin and the running joke
other than him being some rich worldly hippie is that he's in love with
Pam, which never amounts to anything. Alba over-ditzifies her part,
which should have been played by a nameless attractive woman, proving
she has no idea how to shake her type.
Even Bernie and Roz Focker (Hoffman and Streisand) are out of place,
squeezed in to appease the audience who expects them to show up. It's
actually unfortunate, because neither of them totally overdo their part
or annoy us with the fact that despite the same thing happening for the
third film in a row now, no one's learned their lesson. Greg actually
catches Jack spying on him on the train and after eight years of
knowing each other, Greg doesn't confront him. Sure this was for the
sake of keeping the tension up, but at some point you can't keep
milking the same goat, or cow, or cat. Yes, Jinxie returns, also with a
convenient line of dialogue from Wilson who says "I had her brought in
town for you when I heard about your heart," just to set up another pet
mischief joke that's completely out of place at the end of the film.
Basically, we're Focking tired. "Little Fockers" is simply another
example of a movie concept that's run its course and should have never
gone beyond two films and only did because of the money. In a sense,
there should be no surprises here. Then again, attempted jokes such as
young Henry randomly asking if girls poop from their vaginas at the
dinner table, could have been replaced with something more thoughtful
-- and tasteful.