Meet the Parents (released in 2000) is one of my favourite comedies. The 2004 sequel, Meet the Fockers, was silly and disappointing, despite the added star power Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. And so I was a little wary of the third film, Little Fockers. Any time a franchise reaches its third standalone film (ie not a planned trilogy), there’s a risk that the jokes will start wearing thin.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened here. Even with the whole gang back (Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Tero Polo, Blythe Danner, Owen Wilson, Hoffman and Streisand) plus a surprisingly good Jessica Alba inserted (along with Harvey Keitel and Laura Dern), Little Fockers failed to capture the essence of what made the first film so good.
This one, as the title suggests, takes place several years after the second film, with Greg Focker (Stiller) and his wife Pam (Polo) raising twins, who are about to celebrate their birthdays. Of course, Greg’s father-in-law and former CIA agent Jack (De Niro) is still around making Greg’s life hell, and the majority of the movie revolves around several subplots — Greg representing an erectile dysfunction drug (which is where Alba comes in), getting his place ready for the birthday party (enter Keitel) and the trying to get his kids into a prestigious kintergarten (enter Dern).
I won’t deny that there were some good moments and funny one liners, especially with Wilson, Alba and Dern, but on the whole there were too many stale, lame jokes. The cleverness and the subtlety of the original have been thrown out the window in favour of unoriginal cheap laughs and sex gags, especially towards the end.
While Little Fockers is definitely a level or two better than the disaster that was Meet the Fockers, it nevertheless continues to damage the goodwill of the original.
2.5 stars out of 5