March 30, 2005 -- “Meet the Fockers” is a mildly entertaining sequel to the hit “Meet the Parents” with the same director and cast. This time the engaged couple, Greg Focker (played by Ben Stiller) and Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) and her parents, Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina (Blythe Danner of “Sylvia”) are going to Florida to meet Greg's parents, Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz (Barbra Streisand of “The Prince of Tides”).
While Jack is an uptight, repressed conservative, Bernie and Roz are the opposite, unconventional, emotionally open liberals. These opposites don't attract. When forced to be together for several days, all sorts of conflicts emerge. Jack's suspicious nature and CIA contacts resurface. Bernie gets tired of Jack's put-downs of his family and gets even in a football game. Greg tries in vain to keep his wild parents under control, but they are irrepressable, of course. Slowly, the situation slides into chaos. Much of the comedy in the film rests heavily on unimaginative splapstick comedy scenes.
As sequels go, this one, like most, is inferior to the original, but it is hard not to like these characters. The film may be lacking in plot and dialogue, but it is long on capable actors, who create funny characters. De Niro, Hoffman, Streisand (an underrated comic actress), Danner and Stiller all easily inhabit their characters. Hoffman and Streisand, especially are loveable offbeat characters. Unlike the uptight, judgemental Jack Byrnes, the Fockers make you feel right at home. Most characters in movie comedies are so strange you wouldn't actually want to spend any time with them. The Fockers are different. They won me over, even if the movie did not. This film rates a C.
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