Just in case Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers didn’t get you fully Fockerized, Little Fockers; the third film in the Meet the Parents franchise; continues the story of Greg ‘Gaylord’ Focker and his quest to impress his ever-watchful father-in-law Jack Byrnes, with the same calibre of spills, trips, laughs, and puns, as the first two films.
Picking up several years after the events of Meet the Fockers, Greg (Ben Stiller, Dodgeball) and Pam (Teri Polo, Beyond Borders) are now raising their five-year-old twins Henry and Samantha (the former of whom seems to be a little slow, and often embarrasses his parents, while the latter is astutely bright, and clearly intelligent beyond her years), building a new house, and preparing the twins birthday party; which, of course, means having a huge family get together, and seeing the Byrnes meet the Fockers once more.
Greg’s parents are both busy for the majority of the movie; with Roz (Barbara Streisand, The Way We Were) having graduated from having her sex-therapy class to starring in her own sex themed TV show, and Bernie (Dustin Hoffman, Rainman) learning to dance the flamenco in Spain; meaning that once again Greg spends the entirety of the film trying to impress his intense, ex-CIA agent, father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro, Limitless), who along with his wife Dina (Blythe Danner, The X Files) are spending the run-up to the twins birthday with Greg and his family.
Impressing Jack shouldn’t be too much of a big deal this time around; thanks to all the trials, mishaps, and lie-detector tests Greg has had to endure in the previous movies; but as Jack is suffering from health issues, and is looking to see that Greg can become the next head of the family; The “Godfocker” (yes, the Godfocker; a piss-poor pun milked for what seems like a repeating eternity); Greg has a number of new hoops to jump through (including getting his finances in order, and providing an adequate education for the kids), which become more and more difficult thanks to outside influences.
Once again threatening the integrity of Greg and Pam’s relationship is her ex-fiancee Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson, Hall Pass); who’s one of the more entertaining characters in the film, and spends a huge amount of the runtime lusting after Pam; who’s joined on the other side by newcomer Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba, Machete); a sexy pharmaceutical representative who not only has a few jokes thrown at her over the similarity of her name and actor Andy Garcia, but has now started working with Greg, clearly has the hots for him, and takes him on some secret work trips that obviously make Jack very suspicious.
Needless to say there’s plenty of Focker related puns (including finally getting to meet Randy Focker; a minor character who’s brought to life well enough by Reservoir Dogs’ Harvey Keitel, in a totally unnecessary cameo), a fair bit of physical comedy; brought in by a dump truck, an open hole in the garden, a rock wall, some “boner medication” for “sexually repressed old dudes”, and just about anything else that anyone could fall-off, fall-into, cut themselves on, get lost in, etc. etc. etc.
And while all the falling, the cheap sexual puns, and seeing more of Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller go head-to-head in a battle of wills once again may sound appealing, there’s one thing that’s it’s impossible to forget while watching, it’s all been done before; all of it; by the Meet the Parents films; twice; and so any hint of laughter that may have been induced by watching an accident occur at the family dinner table, or a psychotic father-in-law growing increasingly suspicious of his son-in-law are simply reduced to a mild smirk at best, because you know where it’s going, you’ve seen where it’s been before, and the Little Fockers sadly brings nothing new to the series whatsoever.
All of the major players are now well set in their respective roles; with Stiller and De Niro’s chemistry still being top notch, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner actually feeling like a mother and daughter, and Owen Wilson being superb in his quirks and unashamedly brazen affection for Pam; and while Jessica Alba’s character wasn’t completely endearing, she played the part as well as was called for (fitting in to the fairly high-calibre cast with relative ease), however the problem lay with the rest of the supporting cast, who were simply not needed, as they added nothing to the film; Dustin Hoffman was actually called back for reshoots after initially turning down the offer to reprise his role (and frankly no-one would have missed him had he stayed absent), Barbra Streisand had very little to do, and the inclusion of Harvey Keitel especially just felt too forced; hoping a couple of big name stars could up the credibility of a movie that’s clearly the weakest in the series.
If you’re a fan of Meet the Parents, and Meet the Fockers, you’re bound to get a few laughs out of Little Fockers because it’s essentially just a remix of both films; with the same jokes and plot being used again; and even if your not a huge fan of the series there are still one or two genuinely funny and unexpected jokes that crop up; unfortunately they’re few and far between, and not enough to make you want to watch the film again.
Coming to DVD via a 1.85:1 aspect ratio transfer, Little Fockers video presentation is fairly impressive; sporting solid detail, bold and vibrant colours which really pop off the screen, decent black levels, and natural skin-tones, despite the slightly warm tone that generally accompanies these times of comedies; making for a pleasing watch that shouldn’t disappoint anyone.
In terms of sound, Little Fockers 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is also fairly strong, although not impressively so; as while it does contain some notable ambient effects (most prominent at the family party, and a certain visit to a rather posh elementary school), brilliantly crisp and clear dialogue that never gets lost in the chaos of the Focker’s lives, and just a hint of subtle bass when needed, it lacks that certain pop that could make it a standout track; remaining an clean and adequate track, but not one thats going to really stun any listener.
Fans will also be pleased to hear that Little Focker’s comes to DVD with a number of special features they are bound to appreciate; beginning with and alternate opening and ending (the former of which is average, while the latter is much worse than the included ending), several deleted scenes (which are certainly worth a watch, and about as interesting/funny as the rest of the movie), a gag reel (full of the standard giggles, line foul-ups, and pranks), and a mash-up of clips of different characters saying the word Focker across the trilogy.
Also included is a solid making of featurette; containing plenty of clips, behind the scenes footage, cast and crew interviews, discussions of each character, how to keep a third movie relevant, and a discussion of the trilogy as a whole (which was a nice inclusion), making it fun and engaging for fans; and a behind the scenes featurette titled “Bout Time”; highlighting the final fight between Jack and Greg, where the cast praise De Niro, and talk of what it was like seeing Raging Bull back in action; rounding off a series of easy to watch, interesting, and amusing, bonus materials that are sure to give fans that extra little Focker fix they crave.
The Bottom Line:
It’s difficult to argue with the quality of the Little Fockers DVD; having high quality video and audio, as well as a decent selection of special features; the only problem with it is the film itself (the thing that’s really the most crucial when buying a DVD), and even getting to see Andi Garcia’s Myspace page (complete with cheerleader outfit), Jessica Abla in her underwear, and the hilarious video that plays over the closing credits can’t compensate for the flat, unoriginal, and generally unfunny film that is Little Fockers.
If you enjoyed Meet the Parents, and had a laugh while watching Meet the Fockers, then another couple of hours spent with the Focker’s and Byrnes’ won’t be a complete waste of time; as there is the odd trip up or one-liner that’s bound to make you laugh; it simply fails because it’s all been done before, and is now not only predictable, but dull, and as such doesn’t score very highly on the re-watchability scale. One to rent, but far from a good blind buy.