47. Little Fockers (2010)

Stop making these focking movies

Directed by: Paul Weitz
Written by: John Hamburg, Larry Stuckey.
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Jessica Alba.

We’ve already met the parents, we’ve met the Fockers, and now we get to meet yet another dysfunctional addition to the Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro franchise – Meet the Parents: Little Fockers. With a lack of new comic material, Little Fockers tries to compensate through a cast of familiar faces including the likes of Harvey Keitel, Jessica Alba and even Deepak Chopra, fluctuating between crude jokes and touching family messages that projectile-vomit predictability and disappointment in your face.

Getting as old as the jokes.

Like any parent will know, kids change everything. But in the case of Little Fockers, the kids don’t change things so much as exist as gags within an unoriginal plot, screaming at penile injections and letting their pet lizards crawl into messy situations. For Greg (Stiller), parenthood is just added pressure from his father-in-law, Jack (De Niro), who questions Greg’s capability in being the ‘Godfocker’ of his ever-extending family tree when suspicions arise that Greg is having an affair with a hot drug representative (Alba) at his hospital. Of course, this enables Jack to return to his obsessive surveillance (“I’m watching you” apparently never gets old) and fire up some family quarrels regarding whether Greg is a good enough father and husband. As Greg has to try and prove his worth before his marriage is destroyed completely, misunderstandings and wrong-time-wrong-place humour take up majority of this tedious flick.

While no one should be expecting a highly original plotline, it is the quality of the comedy that really lets us down.  Despite the occasional laughs created by Owen Wilson, Little Fockers doesn’t really take full advantage of its great cameo appearances as the movie becomes too preoccupied with Greg and Jack’s cat-and-mouse game of catching out Greg’s inadequacies, even though this issue has been covered adequately in the past two films. As a result, Little Fockers becomes less about the children and more about the sexual frustrations and difficulties of the parents who try so hard to impress crazy in-laws, reverting back to older and fewer jokes that are weakly revived through physical mishaps and smart talk.  In the end, Little Fockers tries to touch on family values to get the “awww” factor out of Jack and Greg’s relationship but ultimately fails to win us over as confusion is cleared up too easily, conflict is reconciled over one show-down and difficult relationships get sorted overnight.

The special features on the DVD, however, include an alternative opening and ending to the film that are starkly different to what ended up being used for the final cut, along with a gag reel that isn’t any funnier than the film, but more amusing to watch.

As just another threequel that fails to live up to the glory days of its first instalment, Little Fockers does little with what it has, choosing to take a predictable route that is made even more disappointing by the lack of humorous new characters and relationships so that even the comical intent of the surname ‘focker’ has gotten too old.


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