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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.17%
Worth A Look: 25.69%
Pretty Bad: 11.01%
Total Crap: 20.18%

7 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Meet the Fockers
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by EricDSnider

"The word 'Focker' isn't as funny as it used to be..."
4 stars

In the grand tradition of movie sequels, "Meet the Fockers" is a little coarser, a little more desperate and a lot less funny than its predecessor. But then it also has Dustin Hoffman, who single-handedly saves the day with a performance as single-mindedly, energetically funny as anything he's ever done.

In the world of the movie, it's only been two years since 2000's "Meet the Parents," which ended with Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller) getting the OK to marry his sweetheart Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) from her accommodating mother Dina (Blythe Danner) and her strict, ex-CIA father Jack (Robert De Niro). Due to Greg's apprehension about letting the Byrneses meet his own parents, the wedding has been delayed many times. But now the moment of truth has arrived, and Greg and the Byrneses are at last heading to Florida to meet the Fockers.

Greg's parents, as you have heard, are played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. You probably can't imagine a better pair to play a couple of retired liberal Jews in South Florida, can you? And they are fantastic, both of them, full of quirks and affable zaniness. The Fockers are a touch-feely couple, still quite frisky (she's a sex therapist specializing in senior citizens; he's a happy house husband) and absolute admirers of their mediocre son. They are the antithesis of the straitlaced Byrneses (well, of Jack, anyway; Dina is still a bit of a cipher).

So we've added Hoffman and Streisand to the already-perfect mix of Ben Stiller as a frustrated, befuddled straightman and Robert De Niro as an intimidating future father-in-law; the original director (Jay Roach) and writers (John Hamburg and James Herzfeld) are back; we would seem to have all the elements in place for a sequel worthy of the original. So what went wrong?

In my opinion, what made the first film work was Stiller's persona as the hapless, wry loser, a character that has since been used in too many films but that in 2000 was still relatively fresh. In "Meet the Parents," someone -- usually Robert De Niro -- would say or do something insane and get a laugh, and then Stiller would top off the laugh with a stammering, deadpan reaction. (For example, Jack reads a bizarre poem about his dead, cancer-ridden mother, and Greg responds, "That was so beautiful, and yet, had so much information.")

Much of that attitude is gone in the sequel; indeed, Greg is almost relegated to a supporting-cast position in favor of the De Niro/Hoffman dynamic. That pair certainly has a lot going for it -- even with only average-to-decent material to work with, De Niro and Hoffman have magnetism and a commitment to their work that is exciting to watch -- but it isn't where the film's greatest assets lie. Stiller ought to be one of the movie's best weapons, but he has far fewer amusing things to say this time than he did the first time around.

Instead, we get a lot of tired gags like people falling down, someone being drugged with truth serum, and a dog that humps everything. Many lines exist just to remind us that yes, his name is still Gaylord Focker, and yes, he's still a male nurse. (In case you forgot.) Jokes are done, redone and overdone, to the point that you notice the movie TRYING to be funny more than you notice it actually BEING funny. There are approximately 1,000 lines in which the amusing part is supposed to be the word "Focker," and dozens upon dozens of boob jokes. There's even a 1-year-old baby to whom Greg accidentally teaches a swear word -- funny a couple times, but not when the baby keeps saying it OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Give it a rest, Fockers.

All of this is to explain why the film isn't as good as its predecessor, or even as good as a sequel ought to be. It is still passably entertaining, however, due in large part to Hoffman's loosey-goosey performance as Bernie Focker. Many of his lines sound ad-libbed; his persona is that of a man who does and says whatever comes into his mind, a well-meaning but embarrassing aging hippie. The film forgets its solid original premises and becomes feebly desperate at times, but Hoffman is always there to wring a laugh out of some hoary joke or some contrived situation. The man is a national treasure, I tell you.

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originally posted: 12/23/04 16:16:47
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell the first one was better 3 stars
7/11/10 art A MESS! 1 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 3 stars
10/16/08 Screwball Had some funny moments. I liked it. 3 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Same schtick as the first one, but a fairly decent sequel with serious star power. 4 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P pretty funny, i love the boob! Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman were hilarious! 4 stars
2/04/08 Karen Smith Whatcha mean? Mine is green! 3 stars
12/29/07 Childs, Megan Have you noticed that the people who rated this film 5 stars probably have an IQ of less 50 2 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Surprised I liked the sequel this much. Not bad. See 1st one first, tho. 3 stars
6/08/07 Austin Wertman terrible 1 stars
6/07/07 Dave stick with Parents 1 stars
2/09/07 David Pollastrini very funny 4 stars
2/03/07 Some Guy Desperate, unfunny money-mongering (ie: what Weinberg said). 1 stars
1/23/07 Matt Mildly amusing, but a very pale shadow of the first. 3 stars
11/02/06 bobby tired jewish screenwriting, lame fart jokes, deniro was in this?? 1 stars
10/02/06 bullit16 meh ... good for a few chuckles 3 stars
8/09/06 Anastasia Beaverhausen An overpaid cast has a ball, audience suffers; just like "Ocean's 12" 2 stars
3/09/06 Dk As good as the excellent first 4 stars
11/29/05 Sully flat out horrible...didn't make it past the 30 minute mark b4 shutting SUCKS 1 stars
9/13/05 bbbr impressive 5 stars
9/13/05 ray mero Only value here is seeing how they carry their age. De Niro has become a cartoon. 1 stars
8/26/05 EZ Should of been R, a little less sex jokes please there are 10 yearolds watching this 2 stars
8/16/05 ES Superior in almost every way to the original = actually funny 4 stars
6/11/05 Ionicera lame 1 stars
6/10/05 Indrid Cold I laughed a few times, but I was barely able to sit through the whole thing. 2 stars
5/29/05 JFK more of the same. first time was hillarious, now is nearly funny 3 stars
5/29/05 tony ok movie i would watch it again. but they should improve on the comedy a bit. 3 stars
5/23/05 Kelley Hoefle Great. It takes a lot to make me laguh and this movie made me laguh sooo hard. 5 stars
5/12/05 Beardog8 I feel embarrassed for the actors trying so hard to be funny 2 stars
5/07/05 edsandiego2 it's not that funny but Barbara is very good. 4 stars
4/27/05 louis funny, but i liked the first one better 4 stars
4/23/05 Heather Tarlecky This movie was the greatest 5 stars
4/22/05 Scott Lamont gratuitous cute baby jokes? These jokes are the film's best. 4 stars
4/10/05 Kristan anderson Better than the first. Story moves along well with few lulls. 5 stars
3/24/05 Helen Bradley Great show, excellent entertainment better than 'Meet the Parents' by a long way 5 stars
3/23/05 Victoria Ross Made me laugh. 4 stars
2/23/05 jade wiggett it rocks the best film i'v seen so far! 5 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig It will help if you are Jewish 2 stars
2/11/05 James overall it was a funnny movie 4 stars
2/08/05 Littlepurch Not exactly original but just hilarous, feel-good fun. Streisand rocked! 5 stars
2/05/05 Workman Focker wordplay and humping jokes--if you want something original don't watch a sequel 4 stars
1/24/05 Simba Better than the first one. preview made it look bad 5 stars
1/22/05 Rob McKeown Funny.. what I expected... worth a look... 4 stars
1/21/05 Jeff Woodman Staggeringly unfunny... 1 stars
1/17/05 ownerofdajoint A HOOT AND A HOLLER FOR REAL ! 4 stars
1/10/05 Brett Not sure why this is getting bad reviews, just saw it tonight and I thought it was funny! 4 stars
1/10/05 carmen greene bad,vulgar mostly porca comedia. 1 stars
1/08/05 Scarlett Waste Of Money 2 stars
1/05/05 your worst goddamn nightmare It's a little too long and the comedy certainly isn't as fresh 3 stars
1/04/05 Cobretti Horny geriatrics,humping dogs,swearing kids,and Focker/F word similarities. Wow thats funny 1 stars
1/04/05 Randy Hawk How many times can name Focker be funny and please stop all the humping jokes! 1 stars
1/03/05 dave sabine i kept waiting for something for a laugh inducing moment but alas 1 stars
1/03/05 Xavier Hernandez Not original. No surprises. No unforgettable ROTFLMAO moments like the first one had. 2 stars
1/03/05 chris. was good for a laugh...almost as good as the first, 3 stars
1/03/05 UMER not exactly as good as the first-one but still is very good 4 stars
1/03/05 Janie Manning so funny.I am still laughing.We need more laughter 5 stars
12/30/04 Jenna Furr Actually, Scott W, there were FEW poopy jokes, but worst of all, they were all LAME ones! 3 stars
12/28/04 Karen Leatherland Didn't make me laugh 1 stars
12/28/04 Landshark There isn't a serious moment in this movie, and it still gets taken too seriously 4 stars
12/28/04 michelle I loved this shit!! 5 stars
12/27/04 Lord Richard boo-urns! boo-urns! 2 stars
12/27/04 ajay a few chuckles, but overall pretty crappy. go see Sideways instead. :) 2 stars
12/25/04 SnailWithoutAShell *LMFAOROF* THE BABY SAID "ASS-HOOOOOLE" ...HOW FUNNIE IS THAT? Save your money, Dont see it 2 stars
12/24/04 Kristina Williams and I thought the first one was lame 1 stars
12/23/04 kike too jewish 2 stars
12/19/04 Ray Just regular 3 stars
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  22-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Apr-2005



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