Who could ever forget the name Gaylord Focker? The sadly conferred
nomenclature from director Jay Roach’s comedy
blockbuster Meet the Parents provides the inspiration for
this silly, eagerly anticipated sequel. Though it won’t win
any awards for originality, Roach’s film is sure to become
one of the year’s biggest crowd-pleasers. It’s just
a hell of a lot of fun.
Here the entire original cast, from Stiller to
Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner
(along with the scene-stealing Owen Wilson) has
returned for more Fockerizing madness. This time, it’s the
in-laws meet the in-laws, and screen legends Barbra Streisand
and Dustin Hoffman bring a whole new meaning to
the phrase “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”
Hoffman and Streisand (who looks amazingly youthful at 62) display
terrific chemistry together. Streisand plays a horny sex therapist,
always looking for new ways to bring pleasure to the masses. As
Stiller’s outspoken, insanely open-minded mother, Streisand
is thoroughly convincing as a sort of New-Age Dr. Ruth.
Meanwhile, Hoffman bounces along as a touchy-feely aging hippie,
a stay-at-home dad who can never get enough lovin’. In a thoroughly
Tootsie-esque performance, Hoffman literally bubbles over
with energy and sincerity. He adores his son so much that he erects
a ridiculous shrine to Stiller that displays every 8th-place ribbon
and jock strap the poor kid ever wore.
DeNiro returns to top form playing the uptight, angst-ridden former-CIA
agent, forever hoping to catch Stiller in some illegal or painfully
immoral act. The film’s funniest sequence finds a demented
DeNiro plunging a syringe filled with truth serum into the unwitting
Stiller’s neck. As usual, Stiller’s facial expressions
are priceless, and he once again succeeds at making the audience
root for his hapless Jewish nurse.
Though the film tries too hard to make us laugh at horny, hump-crazed
dogs and foul-mouthed babies, it manages to make us laugh out loud
while thoughtfully contemplating our own dysfunctional family relationships.
The “Circle of Trust” so wittily invented by DeNiro’s
character gives us all pause to reflect on what happens when we
forget to trust the people we love the most.
—Tiffany Crouch Bartlett