Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Meet the Fockers (2004) TH

When opposite personalities collide

The second Focker film takes the growing relationships further by introducing Greg's parents to the Byrnes' mother and father. Things don't go off without a hitch or ten as both parties take a different approach to lifestyles and parenting: one free-spirited, the other planned.

The name "Greg Focker" should be synonymous with disaster. Everywhere he goes and every situation he finds himself in causes more accidents to take place than student drivers on road tests. You can expect almost everything to go wrong and trying to figure out where it's coming from involves some obvious setups but also a number of curve balls to throw the viewer off. This is also filled with one-off zingers that you might not expect, though they pass through with cartoonish shock instead of a rewarding layered buildup.

Jack Byrnes is a three-step ahead guy at his core, down to the blueprints of his armored RV to get to the tropical Focker residence with Greg's parents awaiting with open arms and liberal views. Barbra Streisand, playing Rozalin Focker, injects the first strong female personality that doesn't act like a wallflower with her open advice as a sexual therapist. Greg soon becomes a referee to separate the tension and anxiety with both parties attempting to either humble themselves to accommodate or change the other person to their own way. One can relate to him as embarrassing moments are brought up, such as a wall of "accomplishments," a detailed scrap book and even revealing his first time. New characters are introduced, including the little grandson of Greg's girlfriend's sister who's training for brilliance, as well as the seductive nanny with spiced up accent and a questionable son.

The characters often play their roles deadpan with chaos going on around them. This takes serious subjects about relationships and puts an over-the-top spin on them. Compared to "Meet the Parents," it's much more outlandish, though with more scenarios that ring with Saturday morning cartoon flavor than what could really happen. This slips in some messages without getting too serious or sentimental that deal with compromising your differences to get along with others and splitting away from the life your parents preplanned for you. The second film was somewhat entertaining and came with some memorable scenes, though it doesn't hold the freshness and power of the first film even with some of the same jokes retreaded.

Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson, Teri Polo
Website: IMDB