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There are many movies where the performances are so good that the
weaknesses of the movie itself are almost oblivious.
The casting in this film, bringing together the stars of the original with Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as Greg aka Gaylord Focker's parents, is sensational.
While I admit that I believed I would read comments and reviews about the crudeness of the material, I believe the reason this is not a typically tragic Hollywood farce is due to the strength of the performances and the interaction of the characters.
As you know, the premise of the movie is very simple. Prior to the wedding of Greg and Pam, the two families will meet. In typical Hollywood sequel fashion, we already know that the Byrnses are somewhat reserved, set in their ways. So it is no surprise that the Fockers are almost the complete opposite.
Hilarity ensures, some crude, some overtly sexual. But the cast is skillful and it plays more like a comic version of "Closer". You will believe that Bernie and Roz (amazing performances by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) are Greg Focker's parents. Not only is their interaction genuine, their love for their child is as well. Part of Greg's embarrassment is the knowledge of his parents' "quirks" and how different they are from the Byrnses. Ben Stiller aptly conveys this while not backing down from his love for his parents.
Meanwhile, stern Jack Byrnes scans the Fockers for clues to prove why he should not like them, therefore not allowing his daughter to be married into that family. His design of the RV is classic Jack Byrnes. What is an improvement in this film, is that Jack discovers some things about himself and his relationship with his wife and daughter that change him. This may be the funniest performance in Robert DeNiro's career.
Throughout the film, there are themes that everyone has experienced but most of all, how important love is. The love of another and the love of family and friends. There is a very good example of this in a scene between Teri Polo and Ben Stiller, after some new information is exposed that could possibly tear them apart once again.
All in all, when you know the cast is having a good time, the audience does too. I will be seeing this one more than once.
"Meet the Fockers" sounds like "Meet the f-u-u-
". Oops! Can't say that
because of FCC guidelines. Just the same, the title pretty much
describes the level of the humor in this Ben Stiller comedy. But that's
redundant because it IS a Ben Stiller movie. Clearly my expectations
for this movie were not high and, maybe because of that, I found "Meet
the Fockers" quite funny.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a movie for everyone. First off, the writers did not miss a single opportunity to play off of the name "Focker". It's silly and gets a little old but it somehow works with the other repetitious low-down gags.
Focker is the family name for Greg (Focker), Ben Stiller. The funniest Fockers, however, (now I'm doing it) are Greg's parents Bernie and Roz, a loose and liberal Florida hippy couple still living in the last century and enjoying every minute of it. Dustin Hoffman, as Bernie displays a previously unrevealed talent for over the top comedy. Fitting perfectly with Hoffman's Bernie, is Barbra Streisand as Roz Focker, reminiscent of the "zaftig" Lainie Kazan. Bernie is a yesteryear lawyer who has not practiced since who knows when. Roz is the main breadwinner from her business as a sex therapist to the elderly.
Greg is not too eager to reveal his parents' true nature to his fiancée's parents as they all come to visit to get to know one another better. Teri Polo nicely plays Greg's fiancée Pam. Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner play her stiff and straight parents, Jack and Dina Byrnes. Oh also add in some baby low-brow by Spencer and Bradley Pickeren, two adorable twins playing Little Jack.
So, go low, go loose -- or don't go at all -- but if you like Ben Stiller, go see "Meet the Fockers". Dustin's antics will crack you up and you'll enjoy Barbra back on the big screen after so long. Rated a B+.
After convincing his fiancée's parents to allow them to marry, Greg
Focker (Ben Stiller) now has to deal with what happens when her ex-CIA
father Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) meets his own wacky ex-hippy
parents, played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand.
I really wanted to see this film when it was first announced. The original was very funny and it had a great repeat value. However, the reviews started coming in and they were all negative so I was a little discouraged. I still went to see it and it turned out to be very funny. The critics really need to lighten up since they turned away a fine comedy. Sure, some of the gags are old and tired but they still work. They use a lot of "Focker" jokes and of male nurse jokes sob that kind of got annoying but it wasn't an overload either. The story is pretty much the same as the first one except now Greg's parents are thrown into the mix and nothing ever goes right. The writers came up with a bunch of different, funny situations and some of them were recycled while others were new.
The cast is great and they help move the film along nicely. The best was clearly Dustin Hoffman as Greg's dad. He was hilarious and fun to watch on screen. Ben Stiller was okay but his uptight character role is kind of getting annoying. Robert De Niro also gives a funny performance and he is now forgiven for appearing in Godsend. Barbara Streisand was surprisingly funny and bearable. I usually cannot stand her but she was alright in the movie. Blythe Danner gives a decent performance, nothing really special. Teri Polo was the only miscast in the movie. She just didn't fit or look well next to Hoffman, Stiller and De Niro. Owen Wilson makes a cameo and it was decent, a little unnecessary though.
Jay Roach directs and he does a good job with the movie though it was a little too long. 115 minutes is kind of long for a comedy and because of the long running time, the film starts to bore around the end. They should have taken some things out to keep the film shorter and interesting. I also didn't like the character little Jack. He was the grandson of Jack (De Niro) and he was very annoying. The addition of the baby character was unnecessary and it kind of brought the film down. Compared to the original, the first one is funnier and more enjoyable. The second one is still pretty funny but it doesn't have a good repeat value. However, the film is still worth checking out in theaters. In the end, please ignore the critics and check this film out in theaters. Rating 7/10
MEET THE FOCKERS made me laugh a lot. It probably has more laughs than the original, but the laughs aren't as big or as fresh or as subtle. And as sequels go, it contains many scenes that are mere variations of the original: the dinner gone wrong, the sports competition gone wrong, the pet gone wrong, the Owen Wilson cameo, the "focker" puns, etc. But many of the variations are quite inspired. Thanks to the terrific cast. De Niro, Stiller, Hoffman and Streisand all look like they're having a great time. Each is given a scene or two to really shine; De Niro and Hoffman fare the best. A child actor's also been added to the cast, and he's a scene-stealer. I just wish Blythe Danner (Mrs. Byrnes) and Teri Polo (Pam Focker) were given more to do. But, as entertaining as I thought the movie was, expect many critics to be turned off or pretend to be turned off by the numerous toilet jokes. I say, flock 'em!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite the reviews being lukewarm, I went to see this movie on a recent afternoon because I had a couple of hours between holiday visits to friends. It was the only film that fit my schedule. It was not my first, second or third choice and if I had absolutely anything else to do and if the weather had been any more cooperative, I would have run - not walked out of the theater. I decided that since it remained at the top of the box office for another week, maybe, just maybe there was something redeeming about it. There isn't. Nothing. And the audience agreed. There were probably 20 of us and not one person - not one - laughed at any point in this movie. It is one of the most pathetic wastes of talent since - since - since I don't know what. Shame on everyone associated with this horribly unfunny movie.
Series note: As this is a direct continuation of Meet the Parents
(2000), it is recommended that you watch that film first. It gives
necessary background exposition and characterization for this film.
Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) and fiancée Pam Byrnes' (Teri Polo) wedding is fast approaching, and their parents still have not met each other. So Greg and Pam fly from Chicago to New York to meet her parents, Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina (Blythe Danner), before heading off with them to Miami to meet his parents, Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Mother Focker Roz (Barbara Streisand). The problem is that the Byrnes are staid, conservative (though slightly crazy) types who would never think of showing public affection, while the Fockers are still hippies--she is a sex therapist for elderly couples and he's a lawyer who became Mr. Mom once Gaylord was born. Can Gaylord keep his parents reined in enough to not cause Jack blow his lid and try to stop the wedding? Although I didn't think Meet the Fockers was quite as funny or successful as Meet the Parents, it's still funny and successful, with a bit less of an emphasis on nonstop outrageous humor and a bit more of an emphasis on the often amusing complexities of extended family relationships.
If you've seen Meet the Parents first--and you should--some of the material, such as Gaylord's job, jokes based on the "Focker" name, and even Jack's background and disposition will have less of an impact, which initially partially depends on novelty and surprise. Additionally, director Jay Roach and the writing team of James Herzfeld, Marc Hyman and John Hamburg telegraph quite a few of the punch lines. For just one example, it's obvious that something is going to happen to Gaylord's rental car in New York as soon as we hear him opt out of purchasing insurance, blowing it off as a "scam" to make money.
On the other hand, Roach and crew make it clear from the start that they're not exactly shooting for the same style of film as Meet the Parents. This is evident from the beginning, which cleverly pokes fun at Meet the Parents' "gradually going to hell in a handbasket" style by having everything go exactly right.
Roach aims for classic scenarios of families colliding that have surprisingly serious subtexts (and in the real world, these kinds of situations do have an attendant humor, at least when we're not right in the midst of them). Every family tends to have its own customs and norms, its own take on ethics, etiquette, politics, religion and so on. Naturally, when we try to merge families through marriages, uncomfortable, often embarrassing, and frequently tense situations abound. Aside from the humor, this is the crux of Meet the Fockers.
Another important subtext that occurs in various guises through the film (and for which the potential was there in Meet the Parents even if it wasn't capitalized on in quite the same way) is opening up to "free", honest expression of one's thoughts, feelings and desires versus showing a "proper" public face. This is particularly amusing and poignant in the case of Jack, whose job involved obtaining honest expression, but who is the strongest case of putting on a false public face--to an extent that he's bought into the persona himself. In a way, Roach and crew are suggesting that if we can really reach that ideal self-expression, maybe those family mergers, and even other kinds of cultural encounters (such as the Fockers' run-in with the police) could proceed more smoothly.
So it's not so important whether Meet the Fockers is as funny as Meet the Parents. Roach isn't just trying to make you laugh, even though he does so frequently. Despite all the comments in others' reviews about sex-oriented humor (how could you not expect that in a film with a title like this?), or general "low-brow" humor, the comic situations here are more sophisticated in many ways than a typical "outrageous" comedy. That means that you're not going to laugh out loud, with tears streaming down your face, as often as you're going to be sitting there with a big smile on your face watching scenarios such as Bernie trying, and mostly succeeding, to hold on to his hippie ideals no matter what the short term costs. This is more a humor of slightly exaggerated but realistic folly, played fabulously by a stellar cast.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I enjoyed the sequel "Meet the Fockers" more than the original "Meet
the Parents" for one reason: the performance of Dustin Hoffman.
Overall, it was a fine ensemble cast and good scripting of the jokes
and situations surrounding the irrepressible ex-CIA agent and family
patriarch Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro). But Hoffman's character Bernie
Focker, an attorney who retired to become a full-time dad to his son
Greg (Ben Stiller), grounds this comedy in solid human values that
raise the film beyond the level of nutty comedy.
I admired how Hoffman's character revealed genuine pain following the nasty remarks of Jack Byrnes. For example, the shrine of framed memorabilia of his son's accomplishments was ridiculed by Jack. One could empathize with Bernie's pain which he registered at the criticism. Indeed throughout the film, the most memorable scenes were those with Hoffman's character on the defense, but also taking the offensive against Jack.
The film also included some wildly funny moments, such as the teenager born out of wedlock to Greg's babysitter, a young lad with humongous eyebrows who was a dead-ringer for Ben Stiller's character and Jack's outrageous motor home rigged with listening devices, which provided him with his command center for spying on the Fockers. Much credit should go to director Jay Roach for outstanding comic rhythms, timing, and pacing.
In the end, this was thoroughly enjoyable movie, which had the surprising effect of providing a good window into family values unusual for Hollywood film comedies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Meeting the Parents of your girlfriend can be stressful enough. But having her parents meet yours can sometimes be a recipe for disaster, something Greg Focker finds to his peril; when both sets of parents meet on the eve of his wedding. Made after the success of Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers carries on where the last film left off, with Greg delivering babies while his stuffy future father in laws delivers ultimatums, both with memorable results. Of course Greg is now finally in "The Circle of Trust" a circle that is headed by Jack, Greg's uptight future father in law, retired from the CIA, yet still firmly attached to his former profession. Meanwhile Greg's own parents are laid back and free with their emotions, his mother being a sex therapist and his father a house husband. Knowing Jack's conservative ways Greg is delighted but terrified at his fiancés news that they are going to have a baby. Worried of Jacks reaction, things get worse when Greg's old teenage crush reappears, along with a 15 year old son who is a dead ringer for Greg and, as far as Jack's concerned, a prime contender for a DNA test . Meet the Fockers is based purely in the realm of a one joke movie (i.e. the family's name) and so has the longevity of one (i.e. very short) The main problems with the film is the heartbreaking (from a film fans point of view) sight of Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand all participating in a film that Benny Hill would have passed at. Streisand, the powerhouse all singing and acting legend, is here reduced to teaching senior citizens how to have better sex, something I could have lived without seeing. Hoffman is clearly having fun, although quite unaware that the audience isn't. His scenes with De Niro have a chemistry, but the scenes themselves do little to their reputations. One scene with Hoffman sitting on a toilet and De Niro in the shower waiting for him to "finish" really felt like an all time low, and when Hoffman flushed I hoped their careers wasn't going down with it. One high point is the appearance of Owen Wilson (Stiller's Hutch to his Starsky) who shows up at the end, but by that time I was too busy sawing through my wrists. Meet the Fockers has an incredible waste of exceptional talent, and that my friends is no laughing matter.
This is an incredibly funny movie. I can't believe the lackluster reviews that this film has received. It's one of the most consistently funny films to come out in recent memory. I (and the rest of the audience for that matter) laughed hardily throughout. Dustin Hoffman, Robert Deniro and Ben Stiller are great. The female characters aren't given much to do, but give adequate performances. Not being a Streisand fan, I was a little apprehensive about her casting, but am pleased to say that she is very good in the role and stands toe-to-toe with hubby Hoffman. The movie is quickly paced and provides very little "down time" where the comedy bogs down. It's a great mix of slap-stick, witty banter, strong comedic performances, crude humor and even cutesy fowl mouthed toddlers. To me all these high brow critics need to lighten up. Comedies should be judged by whether or not they are funny and that's it. The bottom line with this film is that it's hilarious. All those critics are coming off as smug ass hoooooooooles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Believe the critics because this one is just a rehash of the first and
I don't remember laughing even once during the entire film.
Unfortunately, this sequel continues in the same vein as the original.
Making fun of Greg's profession as a male nurse and using his last name
in virtually every way possible to replace the sexual expletive, this
film appears doomed from the start for family viewing.
Along with heavy innuendo based on the family moniker, much of the script's humor relies on overt sexual themes for the punch lines. Working as a seniors' sex therapist, Roz promotes erotic exercise moves and candidly discusses options for an amorously repressed couple. A paternity case, a busload of buxom cheerleaders who start to remove their tops and an incident of mooning are also played for laughs. As well, a toddler learns to swear repeatedly and gets his hands on some hard liquor when a flustered caregiver is distracted by an incoming call. The results are supposed to be funny, but the farce often comes up short in good taste.
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