Some enjoyably zany Fockers

Dec. 28, 2004, midnight | By Anuja Shah | 17 years ago

Meet the Parents sequel pleases

Meet the Fockers is every bit as goofy as its prequel. While the jokes tend to run repetitive and catastrophe gets boring, the humor is redeemingly slapstick and the characters are fittingly over-the-top.

When Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and fiancée Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) decide to introduce their respective families to each other, both are anxious and worry their families might not get along. But no one could have imagined the chaos that would erupt.

Jack (Robert DeNiro) is an ex-CIA agent who is forever suspicious of his to-be son-in-law. Fortunately, Greg's motives are usually innocent. Unfortunately, he tends to wind up in less-than-innocent situations through the cruelest twists of fate.

The families turn out to be, to put it mildly, incompatible. Jack's edgy conservatism begins to wear away at the well-intentioned and open Fockers, and, as the weekend progresses, a clash is inevitable. Anxiety only runs higher when Greg and Pam strain to keep Pam's newly discovered pregnancy a secret. Meanwhile, Jack's growing suspicions of Greg lead to wild attempts to assess Greg's honesty with comical consequences. A single weekend has never been this complicated or this embarrassing.The title family of Meet the Fockers is worth meeting. The Fockers consist primarily of overzealously proud parents Roz (Barbara Streisand) and Bernie (Dustin Hoffman). Both are open, nurturing and have an embarrassing tendency to make awkward conversation they really shouldn't. And this is when they're not discussing their sex lives.

But Roz is a fantastic, supportive mother when she's not being devastatingly embarrassing, and Streisand plays the part with the same convincing mix of concerned compassion and over-enthusiasm. She's also one heck of a Jewish mother.

Bernie is a sort of neo-hippie who's unabashedly open about his life (and everyone else's), and Dustin Hoffman makes just the right sort of uber-embarrassing dad. He's engagingly charming, warm and friendly until he brings up virginity as a suitable topic for dinner-table conversation. Then he's hilarious.

DeNiro makes a fantastic Jack (again); this time, however, he's also playing misguided grandpa to Pam's nephew, who he's training to be a prodigy. Despite his often-unyielding nature, though, DeNiro's Jack undergoes some amusing humbling that lends the movie's feel-good conclusion a tenderly human aspect.

Stiller's repeat performance as Greg is not without its trademark klutziness, but there seems to be less of it in Fockers. However, there are other hilariously awkward situations in which Stiller proves once more that he's perfect for Greg's goofy role.

The only downside to Fockers is that the running jokes run predictable and monotonous. Of course, there are jokes about the Focker surname; there is also far more than enough sexual humor (close to none of it is remarkably funny). But Fockers aims to keep audiences laughing, and it does, decently enough. Or, indecently enough, given all the sexual humor.

The plot is also worth watching unfold; Meet the Fockers is the sort of goofy comedy where a weightier ending is unexpected, but in this case, thoroughly enjoyable. It's a goofy film and none to deep, but an extremely entertaining (and even slightly fulfilling) flick about silly misfortune, zany misunderstandings and the embarrassing hilarity of family.

Meet the Fockers is rated PG-13 for sexual humor and language. It runs 115 minutes and is playing everywhere.

Last updated: May 6, 2021, 11:24 p.m.

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Anuja Shah. Anuja "Otto" Shah, a Junior in the CAP, -is thoroughly excited to be part of SCO, -enjoys the word "fiasco", -aspires to be monstrously cool, -remains prepared to settle for being vaguely nifty, and -probably owes you money, but has fled the country. More »

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