Title: Little Fockers
Year of Release: 2010
Date Viewed: December 27th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
The Fockers are back! Just when those Fockers appeared to have called it quits, they come back like a real Focker would. I'm telling you, those Fockers won't go away. The last time I let these Fockers into my life, they left an impact. Whenever I stub my toe on the stairway, yelling "Focker!" made it all better, because the name Focker means winner. Remind yourself you're a winner. Go get em, Fockers!
Is the joke getting tired yet? If you answered "no", this movie might be perfect for you. This isn't just a sequel that doesn't live up to its predecessors. This is a lazy cash-in that doesn't deserve sympathy points for trying. But I'll give points to Dustin Hoffman for trying to sneak his way out of it.
Taking place about six years after the previous movie left off, not a whole lot has changed for the Byrne family or the Focker family. That is until Jack Byrne (Robert De Niro) suffers an unexpected heart attack. He survives, but the incident is enough to get him to evaluate the future of his legacy. Jack makes a secret phone call to his son-in-law Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and appoints him as the new head of the family, or as he calls it, "The GodFocker." This joke is immediately repeated twice just to make sure everyone has a chance to laugh.
On top of receiving this new burden, Greg is contemplating a new job offer; becoming the spokesperson for a new male-enhancement drug named Sustengo. Non-spoiler alert: In the movies, Viagra never works the way it's supposed to. The proposal promises Greg a nice pay increase but will risk embarrassment. Sure enough, he gets both. When Jack notices Greg hiding a supply of the drug in his closet, he once again places Greg on Circle of Trust probation. Suspicion arises higher when Greg is followed to a rendezvous point with his new employer; an attractive young woman named Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba.) This leads Jack into an investigation into possible adultery, armed with Google product placement at his side.
Pop Quiz: Guess where the title Little Fockers comes from. Time's up. I don't see an answer on your paper. You guessed right. It was a trick question. The title doesn't mean anything!
Oh wait, there are some young kids in this movie. And their last name happens to be Focker. Maybe that's it. Eh, who cares? Wouldn't you rather see the same recycled plot lines from the other two movies instead of a new direction with new characters?
Seriously though, it can't be said that potential wasn't here. Imagine what it would have been like to grow up with Greg and Jack as your mentors. That would make for some interesting stories. Or how about discovering which of Greg and Jack's traits are inherited by the young ones? A sixty second scene teases this idea. But in the end, all the children are written the same and they take a backseat to the no longer interesting adults.
Some characters should have been left out entirely. Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand reprise their roles as Greg's parents but add nothing to the table. Hoffman only appears in three nonsensical scenes while Streisand's only job is to tell stories of her fictional son's early sexual experiences. Again, nothing new here. But guess who gets an expanded role? Owen Wilson shows up in a movie that already has way too many characters and rides his "I have a crush on Greg's wife" routine way past the point of wearing out its welcome; about thirty seconds in.
The producers must have realized that nothing was working out the way they had hoped. So they injected the finale with a last ditch effort to win the only formal award it had a remote chance of winning: The "Best Fight" MTV movie award. The tension between Greg and Jack becomes so high that only a bare fist brawl could settle it. Always being a sucker for comical fight scenes, I credit this moment as one of the few highlights stuck treading in a pool full of stale ideas.