MEET THE FOCKERS
Review by Gordon Justesen
Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand, Blythe Danner,
Director: Jay Roach
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 116 Minutes
Release Date: April 19, 2005
In 2000's Meet
the Parents, a character by the name of Greg Focker was put through the
ultimate nightmare; meeting his future fiancée's parents. It may have not been
such a big deal had the father not been an over-paranoid, uptight former CIA
agent Jack Byrnes. The result was not one of the funniest films of that year
but, I think, one of the funniest comedies I'd ever seen.
Now it's time for
the tables to turn. With Greg and girlfriend Pam now engaged, the time has come
for Byrnes clan to Meet the Fockers.
Reuniting with director Jay Roach, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller return for
another madcap, extremely funny turn as the most odd father and future son in
law. Adding some bite to this sequel is the unlikely casting of Dustin Hoffman
and Barbara Streisand as the Fockers in question.
You basically know
what to expect from the plot, but it's a riot nonetheless. Greg (Stiller) and
Pam (Teri Polo) meet up with her parents before heading down to Florida to
finally meet Greg's parents. Greg is nervous as ever, because he's aware that
his mom and dad are a little more than eccentric. He tries to give future father
in law Jack (De Niro) a heads up, but lord knows that it won't do any good.
After a slightly
embarrassing trip down to Florida in Jack's brand new RV (I'll leave those
moments for you to discover), the clan arrives at the Focker residence, located
in a sunny tropical setting. They pull in the driveway to see Greg's dad, Bernie
Focker (Hoffman) practicing a strange type of martial arts in the front yard.
Upon their first meet, Bernie doesn't hesitate to display a little family love
to Jack with hugs and kisses.
Bernie is a former
lawyer, now a full time husband, and Greg's mother, Roz (Streisand) is
therapist, though Greg tries to conceal the fact that she teaches sex therapy to
the elderly. The two parents have always been proud of they're little Focker, as
illustrated by "The Wall of Gaylord", which is filled left and right with
trophies and ribbons for ninth and tenth place. It's the first of many things
that causes Jack to feel a little strange about these Fockers, but this is a
walk in the park compared to what lies ahead.
Bernie and Roz's
sincere and honest love for their son results in their revealing of several past
incidents. During a dinner gathering, it is revealed that Greg lost his
virginity to their Latin housekeeper at the age of 19. They also manage to
reveal the details of Greg's circumcision in the family scrapbook, while eating,
And it doesn't end
there. Jack has brought along his baby nephew, named Little Jack, along for the
visit. Little Jack has been taught to communicate through sign language, but has
not yet uttered his first word. Thanks to Greg babysitting techniques, it
results in the hugest laugh in the movie.
Jack's cat, Jinx,
is also along for the ride. Not too long after arriving, Jinx gets into a
scuffle with the Fockers' pet dog, Moses. Jinx hates dogs, and their fist
meeting is somewhat flushed down the toilet, if you get my drift. Any pet lover
is likely to agree that this is probably one of the funniest sight gags of
Both De Niro and
Stiller are in superb top form. De Niro, just as he did in the first movie, does
a masterful job of playing Jack so straight as if he were in a serious movie. By
not trying the slightest bit to be funny, De Niro accomplishes the rarest of
terrific comedic performances. And Stiller, playing mostly the straight man for
a good portion of the movie, gets a huge laugh during a scene at a wedding
But the goldmine in
Meet the Fockers is Dustin Hoffman.
Never before has such a serious actor let it all out in the kind of role no one
would've ever expected him to do. I'd never thought I'd see the day when Hoffman
executes an end zone dance in a game of football against Jack. Looking back, I
think we could consider Hoffman's work in Tootsie a pure warm up.
While it didn't
exactly come off as better than its predecessor, or the best sequel of last year
Twelve and The Chronicles of Riddick
are tied for me in that category), it does manage to deliver plenty of huge
gut-busting laughs. If Dodgeball and Anchorman
were the funniest films I saw in 2004, then Meet
the Fockers is not too far behind.
just as terrific a job as they did on the original Meet the Parents disc. The anamorphic picture (Full Screen available
separately) is thoroughly clean and clear. The image is loaded with detail, as
well as bright and lively colors. No flaws detected at any point.
The 5.1 mix is
downright perfect for a dialogue driven comedy. There are numerous moments of
physical pratfalls that result in strong sounding moments. Dialogue delivery and
music playback are also heard in superior form.
An impressive array
of extras on this disc, beginning with a commentary track with director Jay
Roach and editor/co-producer John Poll, four featurettes; "Fockers' Family
Portrait", "Inside the Litter Box with Jinx the Cat", "The Manary Gland" and "The
Adventures of a Baby Wrangler". Also included are twenty minutes of deleted
scenes, and a lengthy blooper reel. You also have the option to watch the
theatrical version or an extended version.