Little Fockers is the third installment in the Meet the Parents franchise. I have to say that I thought this one was going to continue the downward spiral that the series had taken after the initial triumph that the original Meet the Parents was. I expected the sequel, Meet the Fockers, to be excellent, with the additions of Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand (who were both fantastic in the movie and had a beautiful chemistry together), but for some reason it just didn’t work. Sure there were a few laughs, but like so many sequels, it was unable to match the original’s heart.
And so now we have the conclusion to the trilogy (hopefully this is in fact a trilogy and they don’t go any further with this, which seems unlikely – but you know those Hollywood executives). I am happy to say that I thought Little Fockers recaptures the magic of the first, while adding a little new flavor, thus leaving us with the best one of the series.
It has been roughly six years since the conclusion of the second film. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam Focker (Teri Polo) now have little twin Fockers running around. Greg has settled into his profession and his role in the family. Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro) even appears to finally be accepting Greg. Add to the fact that Jack’s health is declining and his other daughter is getting a divorce, well let’s just say he needs someone to keep the Byrnes family and legacy running smoothly after he is gone.
So Greg is that guy, until Jack starts getting suspicious of Greg again. These suspicions come from Greg taking a job promoting a new erectile dysfunction drug to help pay for his kids to go to a fancy private school. And with Owen Wilson back around, Jack once again begins to doubt that not only is Greg not the right guy to lead the family, he may not even be the right guy for Pam. What it all leads to is Greg coming into his own, and showing Jack that he can and will lead. A classic scene in the movie was when Jack attempts to follow Greg, only for Greg to catch him not once but twice and essentially outsmart the ex-CIA agent.
So all the originals are back, and there are some new characters added to the mix as well. Jessica Alba is great as Andi Garcia, the drug rep who convinces Greg to become the spokesperson for the drug. Then there is Harvey Keitel, who is one of my favorite actors, but whose role in the movie is basically pointless. It’s a shame to because Keitel is a serious actor but he can be very funny as well (as in Pulp Fiction and Thelma & Louise) – which is why the rumors of him replacing Steve Carell probably won’t die.
Bottom line is this: the acting is all pretty solid. And this movie is full of laughs. Ben Stiller, who I think is one of the best comedians to come around in a long time, is on point with this role. He has played it before, not just in the original two, but he also has starred in very similar roles – from Reality Bites to Flirting with Disaster. Not exactly the same, but similar. Robert DeNiro, who never really did much comedy in his prime, has settled quite nicely into being someone we can laugh at, as opposed to someone who we should be very scared of (Cape Fear, Goodfellas).
Normally a change of writers and/or directors can hurt a movie. In this case, Jay Roach, who directed the first two, was replaced by Paul Weitz, and Weitz comes through with his best movie since American Pie. A great way to end the trilogy, if it is in fact going to be just a trilogy, and a great movie for the holiday season. Do yourself a favour and spend some time with the Fockers this Christmas.
Little Fockers recaptures some of the original's heart and delivers some genuine laughs but there's too many tired and recycled jokes here and a lot of it just isn't funny anymore.