|Meet the Fockers (2004)
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner
Director: Jay Roach
With "Meet the Parents," Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro teamed up in what quickly became one of the best comedic combos of the year. Audiences laughed and critics stuck their thumbs high into the air to congratulate both Stiller's restrained performance and D eNiro's long-awaited return to comedy (and for those who have yet to see his earlier comedic work, check out King of Comedy alongside Jerry Lewis). "Meet the Fockers," the eventual follow-up to the box-office blockbuster, doesnt have much to laugh about beyond the humorous play-on-words in the title, but its fabulous cast of award-winning actors embarrass themselves in whatever means necessary in order to make this second go-around bearable to watch.
Two years since the horrible string of events in the last film, Greg (Stiller) and Pam (Teri Polo) have finally set a date for the wedding and the only thing left to do is to introduce Jack (DeNiro) and Dina Byrnes (Blythe Danner) to the Fockers, a pair of intensely sexual hippies whose eccentric personalities only spell trouble for our unfortunate hero Greg. His father Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) is a former liberal rights lawyer who stopped practicing to become a stay-at-home dad and his mother Roz (Barbra Streisand) is a sex therapist for seniors. Its quite obvious that the two couples wont get along, especially Jack and Bernie, who have two completely different outlooks on life. The story is still about Greg and the upcoming wedding, though, and before you know it, Jack has already lost any trust in his future son-in-law that he supposedly gained at the end of the last film. Jack shortly breaks out his CIA operative gear and digs for family secrets in between taking care of his new grandchild Jack.
"Meet the Fockers" utilizes a short chain of gags that is milked for every last laugh, and just when you thought that the running jokes have finally subsided, the same ones reappear to haunt the script for the next hour. Perhaps the worst addition to the family is the Byrnes grandchild Little Jack, who is used for a bulk of the potty humor that rarely works. Hoffman is bouncing with energy as Bernie Focker, and while Streisand doesnt necessarily match her co-star's excellence, her casting in the role is impeccable. De Niro is just going downhill altogether and his revival of the extremely conservative Jack isnt nearly as entertaining, while Stiller is just having one of his many off days.
Hoffman aside, the most refreshing performance in the film doesnt even appear until the final 10 minutes when Owen Wilson makes a cameo as Pam's ex-fiance Kevin. Jay Roach, who directed the Austin Powers films, has done a great job in the past with making comedy sequels feel fresh, but Meet the Fockers somehow feels like the same thing all over again, and not even Hoffmans wonderful performance can save that. The material may be described as mediocre and uninspired, but audiences of "Meet the Fockers" will either love it or hate it. Choose your sides wisely.
The widescreen DVD release of "Meet the Focker"s includes enough bonus content to rival the recent re-release of "Meet the Parents." Along with offering the original theatrical release, the extended version of the film is available accompanied by an optional feature commentary with director Jay Roach and editor/co-producer John Poll. Also included in the special features section of the disc are 65 (count em) hilarious bloopers, twenty deleted scenes and a Fockers Family Portrait. There are also behind-the-scenes featurettes like "Inside the Litter Box", "The Manary Gland" and "The Adventures of a Baby Wrangler," which looks at what it takes to direct children on a movie set. Overall, the "Meet the Fockers" DVD is a sensible buy for any fan of the film, but if youre only looking to rent it, youll be pleasantly surprised with the amount of extra content to keep you busy.