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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 Collin Souter

"Nice to meet you. Have we met before?"
3 stars

I really wish more people could see the 1990 version of “Meet The Parents,” on which the 2000 movie is based. It has no star power, no crystal clean sets and no C.I.A. sub plot. It’s as simple as a movie can get. Guy meets his soon-to-be in-laws and everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong. It’s funnier, darker and far more realistic. Now, we have a sequel to a re-make that comes after thousands of imitators and wannabes have already come and gone and ends up feeling like just another episode of Wacky Mishaps and Shenanigans. I consider myself very lucky knowing that a better movie exists out there in Bootleg Obscuraland.

Okay, so you didn’t see the original original. Fine. I’ll stop. But it helps to make my point that these two newer movies, although funny and put together by talented people, lacks something that would make them classics: Discomfort. It’s funny, but I always feel safe watching a “Meet the Parents” movie. I never feel any suspense or sense of panic when situations get so far past the point of absurd and poor, innocent Ben Stiller must try and explain himself. I know when I look at the screen that that’s Ben Stiller doing his thing and that’s Robert DeNiro doing his thing and it’s sometimes very funny.

The sequel “Meet the Fockers” tries to one-up the original by bringing in the other side of the family. Greg Focker (Stiller) and his finace Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo), along with her parents Jack (DeNiro) and Dina (Blythe Danner) take a trip in a seemingly normal mobile home to the Focker family house. I’m sure you remember in the original that Jack is a conservative, stern, uptight former C.I.A. agent who doesn’t understand the pot references in Puff the Magic Dragon.

The Focker parents operate a little differently. They’re a liberal minded, openly sexual, fun-loving couple who could also be mistaken for obnoxious. Bernie Focker (Dustin Hoffman) is a former attorney and his wife, Roz (Barbara Streisand), is a sex therapist for elderly couples. You can see where this is going, right? It’s almost too obvious to keep writing about it.

The oddball part of this comedic equation is a 2-year old toddler, Little Jack (played by Spencer and Bradley Pickren), who has joined the Byrnes family on this trip so that Grandpa Jack can spend more time with him and make him smarter. Little Jack is Pam’s brother’s child, but absorbs information like a sponge and has even mastered his own version of sign language. Don’t be surprised if this kid ends up responsible for the year’s biggest catchphrase (or word).

And then all hell breaks loose. Wackiness ensues. People’s feelings get hurt, the Circle of Trust is broken and everyone learns how NOT to be a jackass. Of course, since it’s also a Ben Stiller comedy, small animals get harmed and everyone looks at him like it’s his fault. Situations start out innocently enough, Stiller’s character reluctantly, but willingly, gets involved, makes a mistake that causes a domino effect of more mistakes until Stiller has a moment alone with his woman and they have a tender moment and everything is fine.

I’m not here to beat up on these movies. They’re funny, this one maybe less so (I haven’t seen the original since it first came out). The cast seems to be having a good time, particularly Hoffman, who gets most of the laughs, most of them off-screen. Barbara Streisand actually didn’t get on my nerves, which makes the movie worthy of an extra half-star right there. Stiller does his Stiller thing, DeNiro does his DeNiro thing. It gets tiresome, labored and predicable, but it goes down pretty easy, too.

I just wish I could feel sorry for these people. I wish I could relate to them and cover my eyes every time I see something about to go wrong. I remember last summer riding in a car with my girlfriend’s dad, who is also far more conservative than myself and a good man. He was showing off his XM radio in his fancy new car. He offered to let me play DJ and pick some stations that would be enjoyable for both of us. I go for the comedy station. Richard Lewis is on. Lewis starts out innocently enough talking about airports, but then segues into a bit about masturbation. It was a tense moment, probably for both of us. I wondered, “Do I switch it off? Do I change it? Do I let Lewis finish the bit?” Lewis never finished the bit. It was the longest two minutes of my life.

That’s how a “Meet the Parents” movie should feel more often. I know people had a good laugh at the original and I’m sure they will here too, but I wonder if anyone can actually identify with what goes on in them? Most people aren’t this stupid or idiotic in real life, but the movie would like to think they are. It’s not insulting or mean-spirited, but it’s not grounded in any kind of reality that would make us wince. The new “Meet the Parents” make us walk out of the theater saying, “That was funny when that dog got flushed down and turned all blue.” The original 1990 movie makes us walk out saying, “I remember when I accidentally flushed my girlfriend’s parent’s dog down the toilet. It was NOT pretty.”

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originally posted: 12/22/04 17:09:13
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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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