Little Fockers – Little Laughter

179

I can’t remember much about the first two Focker films, which isn’t a particularly good sign, but I know for sure I will never forget the third, and not because I was entertained. This latest addition to the series is juvenile, hackneyed, without one funny moment and all other comedies can now be judged with a simple “Was it as bad as Little Fockers?”

Both sets of in-laws are going to join Greg (Ben Stiller) and Pam (Teri Polo) for their grandchildren’s fifth birthday. Meanwhile, Greg has been offered a commission by a drug rep, Andi, to promote the latest version of Viagra. Jack (Robert De Niro) becomes suspicious about his son-in-law’s relationship with the attractive Andi and tries to engineer a marital split, despite the couple claiming that they are still in love.

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The definition of a farce, which is the only genre this film can be described as, is “a light dramatic work in which improbable situations and exaggerated characters are used for humorous effect”. Jack and Andi are both exaggerated (psychotic tyrant and over-excited hussy), but Greg is very ordinary and, as most of the screen time is taken up with these three, comes over as a big fat nothing and makes the other two look like caricatures. As regards the other characters, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner (Jack’s wife) are given little to do so hang around like talking statues and Mr & Mrs Focker (Streisand and Hoffman) have virtually no interaction with anyone, including each other, so presumably they got the gig simply so their star studded names could be included in the line-up.

This film does, however, score on the “improbable situations” aspect of the farce but, because nothing of any consequence has been created, there is nothing to resolve at the end. The writer is all too aware of this so doesn’t waste time on any kind of story resolution and simply lets Jack deliver one single sentence and then, bam, the credits roll. Under the circumstances, this sharp exit was appreciated.

And finally, we come to the cell phones that never stop ringing, which indicates a lack of face to face communication and is also extremely irritating. This method of storytelling also had the unwelcome side-effect of making the audience take out their own phones to look at the time, or it could possibly be that they’re all like me and, call us old fashioned, but we really do prefer it if our comedy makes us laugh.

RELEASE DATES

Belgium – 22 December 2010

Canada – 22 December 2010

Egypt – 22 December 2010

France – 22 December 2010

Netherlands – 22 December 2010

New Zealand – 22 December 2010

Norway – 22 December 2010

Spain – 22 December 2010

UK – 22 December 2010

USA – 22 December 2010

Croatia – 23 December 2010

Estonia – 23 December 2010

Germany – 23 December 2010

Greece – 23 December 2010

Hungary – 23 December 2010

Malaysia – 23 December 2010

Portugal – 23 December 2010

Serbia – 23 December 2010

Singapore – 23 December 2010

Denmark – 25 December 2010

Iceland – 26 December 2010

Australia – 27 December 2010

Russia – 30 December 2010

Brazil – 31 December 2010

Finland – 31 December 2010

Venezuela – 7 January 2011

Sweden – 14 January 2011