April 5, 2011


Once upon a time in the late 90s and early 2000s, Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller were a comedy duo that could not be stopped. From their first appearance together in Stiller’s film The Cable Guy back in 1996 to their continued work in movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, Zoolander, and Meet the Parents, Wilson and Stiller were in a group alongside actors like Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, and Steve Carrell that helped give a fresh take in the changing world of comedy. Fast forward a decade and the two are now known for making some of the most stale and generic comedies being released. Once pioneers of the revitalized genre, it’s been a hard fall from grace for the two. This is fully on display in the film Little Fockers, now on Blu-ray.  Hit the jump for the rest of the review.

While watching Little Fockers it was hard to even imagine that the same team that brought us Meet the Parents (2000), a witty and often times hysterical commentary on the awkwardness of meeting the in-laws, created this latest installment. If a word had to be chosen to describe it, Little Fockers would be known as unmemorable. The bottom line is that we’ve seen the relationship between Greg Focker (Stiller) and Jack Burns (Robert De Niro) played out through two perfectly decent movies and this movie gives us nothing new to work with.

For those of you who may have missed Meet the Parents or its 2004 sequel Meet the Fockers, here’s all you need to know: Greg and Jack don’t get along. Jack, a former CIA agent, is constantly suspicious of Greg and believes his daughter should have married her ex-boyfriend Kevin ( Wilson) who is obsessed with her. In a constant power struggle between the two, Greg always wins over Jack in the end. In Little Fockers, Jack becomes suspicious when Greg begins endorsing an erectile dysfunction medication with Andy (Jessica Alba) and begins sneaking around to help make extra money for their children’s education. Hijinks ensue.

The biggest problem is none of the gags are very interesting or original. There’s a healthy dose of penis, vomit and sex jokes to go around, none of which work very well. The worst reoccurring bit is one in which Jack tells Greg he wants him to be “the God Focker”. It’s as if someone finally realized De Niro was at one time a real actor and had done The Godfather Part II and decided to write a joke about it.

By this third outing with the Focker family, I felt bored. It’s the type of dysfunctional family material that is written better when condensed down into a half-hour sitcom like Modern Family. We get the same amount of dysfunction but in a more fresh and current manner. Little Fockers just seems lazy. Watching the DVD interviews, it seems like both Stiller and De Niro had little faith in the movie, and even the execution of the acting is lackluster. Laura Dern and Harvey Keitel are both in the movie, though you’d hardly know it with the little amount of screen time they have. Both are completely wasted, not to mention Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, whose stories seem thrown in at the last minute.

The Blu-ray includes several extra features including a pretty sub-par gag reel, a “making-of” feature, an alternate beginning and ending (both of which were better than the originals), and some surprisingly good interviews (one of Stiller and De Niro and another with Stiller and Wilson). The extras are pretty mediocre but honestly, what were you expecting? In some closing words, don’t waste your time with Little Fockers. It’s uninspired and unfunny Hollywood dribble. If you want comedy, look elsewhere.

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