Grandkids Added to Mix in “Meet the Parents” Franchise
It’s been a half-dozen years since we last saw Greg (Ben Stiller) and Pam Focker (Teri Polo), and over the interim the couple has been blessed with fraternal twins, Samantha (Daisy Tahan) and Henry (Colin Baiocchi). The terminally-cute kids are five years-old and already driving their parents crazy with hijinks ranging from projectile vomiting to posing precocious questions about whether women can poop out of their vaginas.
Their age-appropriate antics, however, are merely a sideshow to daddy’s ever-strained relationship with his father-in-law, Jack (Robert De Niro). If you recall, the bulk of the humor in the original, “Meet the Parents,” revolved around the tension between overprotective Jack and the unworthy suitor seeking his daughter’s hand in marriage. In the first sequel, “Meet the Fockers,” the addition of Greg’s eccentric folks, Roz and Bernie (Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman), to the mix meant half the humor took a turn towards tawdry double entendres.
This installment is more of a kitchen sink comedy, with a little of something for everybody. For instance, you have nurse Greg being pressured at work by a seductive pharmaceutical company rep (Jessica Alba) to promote Sustengo, the latest erectile dysfunction drug. Unfortunately, the transparent script telegraphs that someone might accidentally ingest a pill or two, so that by the time that finally transpires, it’s all oh so anticlimactic.
Meanwhile, on the home front, Pam wants to send the twins to the exclusive and expensive Early Human School. As for the grandparents, Jack has developed heart problems, and love guru Roz is having a blast hosting her own hit TV show called “Sexpress Yourself.”
The extended clan convenes in Chicago for the twins’ birthday celebration, which gives the flick the semblance of a structured storyline. Still, it’s essentially a collection of loosely-connected skits, most of which fall flat. Consequently, the laughs come few and far between, with the one-dimensional characters predictably finding excuses to behave in accordance with their limited personas.
A lackluster effort and a preposterous plot which add up to a flagging franchise that just “jumped the shark.”
Fair (1.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, drug use and pervasive sexual humor.
Running time: 98 Minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures