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MEET THE FOCKERS (PG-13) (2004)

Universal Pictures, DreamWorks SKG

Official Site

Director: Jay Roach

Producers: Robert DeNiro, Jay Roach, Jane Rosenthal

Written by: John Hamburg, Jim Herzfeld, Marc Hyman

Cast: Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson

Rating:


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

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



none now
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