By: Da’Mon Guy
Little Fockers is a moderately amusing, obsessively raunchy film that abuses the PG-13 rating and it doesn’t measure up to the two previous fims. This is the third installment to feature this collection of stars. The film reunites Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder), Robert DeNiro (Machete), Terri Polo (The Hole), Blythe Danner (Waiting for Forever), Dustin Hoffman (Stranger Than Fiction), Barbara Streisand (Meet the Fockers), and Owen Wilson (Marley & Me ) who all reprise their roles from the two prior “Focker” movies. The film also introduces Jessica Alba (Valentine‘s Day), Kevin Hart (Death at a Funeral), Laura Dern (Tenderness), Harvey Keitel (National Treasure 2), Daisy Tahan (The Other Woman), and Colin Baiocchi (Couples Retreat) to the Focker universe.
Greg Focker (Stiller) returns again trying to overcome the scrutiny and win the approval of his overbearing father in law, Jack Byrnes (DeNiro). Gregg now a father of twins, tries to measure up to the task of being the head of the Byrnes/Focker family.
Little Fockers is a fairly amusing comedy that continues the story of the Gregg (Gaylord) Focker, attempting to garner the approval of his Father in Law, Jack Byrnes. The film is fairly entertaining but it has a multitude of issues that hinder the movie from equaling the quality of the two previous movies. The rating of the film, the lack of focus on the other characters, the misuse of the children, the lack of progression in the Gregg/Jack dynamic. These are just a few of the issues that impede the movie from measuring up to the two prior films in the trilogy.
The most prevalent detractor from the movie is that most of the humor in the movie is really sexually based. The movie that really pushes the envelope of its PG-13 rating. Who Rated this? I don’t know how or who rated this film but it should not have been rated PG-13, it should have been R rated. There isn’t that much of a difference from 13-16. But there is a big difference between 10-13. PG-13 usually indicates some level of family friendly or at least a film that is tolerable for the entire family and this clearly was not. I really thought movies were rated for a reason.
The film opens with Jack’s concerns about the family, having discovered that one of his two son in laws, had an affair and this sets the tone for the entire film. The film really focuses too much on sexual themed jokes to keep the movie going. There was some sexual reference or some sexual innuendo nearly every ten minutes. The movie opens, continues and ends with it.
Little Fockers features the return of the great collection of Hollywood star power that graced the two previous movies and it even introduces a few more into the Focker family of films. Conversely, this film doesn’t really use them other than as a side show for the Jack vs. Gregg rivalry. The movie spends way too much time focusing on the rivalry between Jack and Gregg, ignoring the other members of the two families. In the two prior films, especially the last movie, the other members of the two families all had some opportunity to add to the story. This film allows no room for that. Even Ben Stiller wasn’t the Ben Stiller we are accustomed to. We never got the classic “Stiller” zapping out.
This movie is a prime example of how much a director means to a movie. Little Fockers was director by Paul Weitz and the other two movie were directed by Jay Roach. The changing of directors was clearly detractor for this movie. In the two prior films the title indicated a level of progression in the Byrnes/Focker story. The first film introduced to the character, Gregg Focker in particular, as it is aptly entitled Meet the Parents, the second film Meet the Fockers, introduced to the Focker side of the family as it highlighted Gregg’s parents. This film is entitled Little Fockers. The title of the film would indicate move of a focus on the children. The kids are in the movie but they are only minor details of the story as most of the movie isn’t really about them nor do they get enough screen time. The lack of the Focker in laws in this film hurt it as well. In additon, Owen Wilson’s character had too much screen time in this version. He was overused, unneeded, and unwanted.
The movie does have its moments in spite of the many detractors. The Jack vs. Gregg rivalry was still extremely entertaining. This film mishandles it but Stiller and DeNiro still maintain the intensity that makes the series work. Jessica Alba was amusing as the ditzy drug rep, Harvey Keitel makes a brief but humorous appearance.
The comedy in Little Fockers is adult based in nature. It’s hit or miss with no middle ground. Either you’ll like it and laugh or you’ll sit there and wonder why are you watching this. The Focker films have always been about family and the bond/ commitment of marriage. This film is about them but it skews its theme as it focuses too much on the cheating and sexual aspects of marriage. The movie has its short-lived comic moments but not to the high standards set by the previous two. This one was a disappointing addition to two great comedic films.