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"Barabara Streisand doing a spit take.  Fart jokes.  And, shots of a dog humping things.  Amazingly, they all play and are outright laugh-out-loud funny.  Who would've thought it?"










Meet the Fockers
The Masked Reviewer

What the fock?  Are you focking kidding me?  Get ready to fock your socks off...Meet the Fockers is here.

Yes, you will have to put up with a number of Focker jokes.  But if you enjoyed the original movie for which Meet the Fockers is the sequel (Meet the Parents), you'll enjoy the fock out of this one too.

Ben Stiller plays Gaylord Focker, again.  He's joined by his fiancée, Pam (played by Teri Polo) and his in-laws, played by Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner.  Jinx the cat is also back (played by the same or a different cat, who the hell cares? It's a cat.)  There are also a few return visitors from the original movie.

Added to the cast are Dustin Hoffman, playing Ben Stiller's father and Barbara Streisand playing -- you guessed it -- mother Focker.  There's also a baby, played by a real life baby.  Method acting.

Much like the first film, it has the feel of a farce; Ben Stiller sneaks around, inadvertently causing problems, then trying to cover them up so his harsh father-in-law doesn't find out. 

One might expect this to be a truly horrible sequel.  Sure, there are big names, but other than Ben Stiller, none are known for their comedic genius (remember Ishtar?).  Often when you throw a bunch of big names together for a sequel, it winds up being little more than overpriced cameos.  The Masked Reviewer was expecting a quick cash-in on the success of the first film.

Well, those Fockers sure surprised the Masked Reviewer!  It is arguably better than the first film.  Many of the characters and their relationships are already set up, so they get straight to the funny stuff.  And, lo and behold, it's actually funny. 

Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of Ben Stiller's eccentric, emotional, and loveable father is easily his best comedic performance.  He's good.  It's a part that sounds very cliched, but Dustin Hoffman pulls it off with an energy and sincerity that makes every moment he's on screen a joy to watch.

Barbara Streisand is equally as charming as Ben Stiller's eccentric and slightly smothering Jewish mother.  She plays it up, but not too much.  Her efforts to embarrass Gaylord seem genuine and real.  It doesn't deteriorate into a hack caricature of the Jewish mother; it's certainly familiar, but funny and fairly fresh.

The writing is cute.  Most of the humor is situational and sight gags, rather than jokes, but the laughs keep coming and the movie isn't a one-note tune.  A few of the laughs come from callbacks to the first film, so it helps to have seen that one, but for the most part the film stands on its own. 

Here are a few of the things you'll be treated to in the movie: Barabara Streisand doing a spit take.  Fart jokes.  And, shots of a dog humping things.  Amazingly, they all play and are outright laugh-out-loud funny.  Who would've thought it?

In the spirit of the Masked Reviewer's no-spoiler policy, the best cameo won't be ruined, but for many people, it'll be worth the price of admission.

The music is by Randy Newman.  There's not much else to say about that.  If you like Randy Newman, then you'll like his music.  It's not very likely that you won't like it.  But, you might not care.  Fine.  Be that way.

The weakest part of the movie is Teri Polo, the fiancée.  She doesn't have a good line, she doesn't get a laugh, she's just there.  She's upstaged by the cat, the dog, and the recreational vehicle that Robert DeNiro drives.  They need to have her there, one supposes, but she's more of a prop than anything else.  Interestingly, DeNiro isn't responsible for many laughs, either.  It's Hoffman and Streisand that steal the show.  Even the baby has better dialogue.  So does the cat.  And the dog.  Stiller is funny, too, and he's pulled it back a little for this film from, say, Dodgeball.  He's got the awkward schlub thing nailed down. 

All in all, it's a pleasant surprise and definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed Meet the Parents.  It manages to make old, worn-out comic bits fresh and funny again, and it's entertaining all the way through.  If you hated the first film, you probably won't find this is different enough to sit through, but if you haven't seen the first film, Meet the Fockers is a good choice for a silly holiday film. 

Expectation from the Title: It seems pretty straightforward.  You get together, you shake hands with them, you introduce yourself.  This takes a whole movie?

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Barbara Streisand is in it!  She's like butter.

The Pros: Surprisingly funny, especially if you go in expecting nothing.  Hoffman and Streisand steal the show.

The Cons: DeNiro wasn't as funny as he could have been -- his character more than anyone else winds up being more of the same.

Looking for Barbara Streissand or Dustin Hofman, or Meet the Fokkers, or Owen Willson?  Read above!


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