Monday, July 18, 2011
Review: Little Fockers (2010) TH
The third phase
This newest installment in the Focker series is launching to the next level with blossoming kids, tempting infidelity and making consideration for carrying on the proud lineage of the family legacy. Despite the title, the main players are Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, with the other characters showing up on the wayside to inject little subplots to accelerate the two mentioned--sometimes fitting in, sometimes forced to fit.
This has gags like the other films and the roster is full of eccentric characters to create more situational comedy. There are goofs galore, sex taboos out the wazoo and loads of misunderstandings to unfold. I congratulate them for not reducing themselves to nothing but one liners and one-off quips. This instead attempts to build up in-jokes and layered scenarios, though the problem is you can see them in a slow march a mile away. It retreads similar ground, such as the play on the Focker name, male nurse jabs, gay scenarios, bodily noise and fluid jokes, someone walking in at the wrong time. Ben Stiller is hamming it up on the whole social etiquette bit: the nice guy who doesn't want to offend anyone so he takes the long route to fix it. Though his character is slightly evolving towards building up courage when confrontation arises. Robert De Niro's character's days of mean are slowly loosening up and coming to terms, as he's finding out all that stubbornness is too aggressive and there's a chance he might get pushed away from treating others like pawns.
There's a noticeable formula with "Little Fockers." As a movie to stretch your feet and relax to without much complication it's sufficient to just meeting the grade with a little bit of easy fun, though having high hopes and wanting to relive the experience is another set of issues. A decade ago this might have been fresh but a share of the jokes feel derivative and predictable, such as something always going wrong in a completely awkward and embarrassing way, but if you can count on it each time in advance then there's no real surprise. There are some sentimental messages slipped in without getting too sappy, like "the going is tough but we're in it together," or "living your life the best way you can even if it's flawed in other's views." However, there's not much to linger with a viewer that tops the other films in the series, or even other situational comedies that have pushed the envelope in the last decade further or just had more charm, fluidly or pizazz to give sparks to a roaring fire of laughter.
Director: Paul Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Teri Polo, Owen Wilson