Meet the Fockers DVD: Review By Dodd

  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
In 2000, a comedy called Meet the Parents hit theaters, which stars Robert DeNiro as a staunch father Jack Byrnes, and Ben Stiller as the young man named Gaylord "Greg" Focker wishing to court his daughter. The storyline involves one conflict after another until the father learns to accept poor Greg as his son-in-law-to-be.

At the end of Meet the Parents, Jack and his wife Dina (Blythe Danner) sit in bed and make a brief comment about how they will now have to meet the Focker family. While this is a brief, forgettable joke, it really is so much more than that. It is a little something called sequel fodder. In the event that Meet the Parents does well in the box office, the end, like most films that come out, has to leave things open for a follow-up.

Of course, Meet the Parents was a big hit with critics and audiences alike, and it raked in millions of dollars. I think we know what this means. Universal Pictures, show us the sequel!

As Jack and Dina mention in the predecessor film, it is now time to meet the Fockers, and there could not be a more fitting title than Meet the Fockers. While the comedy sequel is somewhat funny at times, it also provides a demonstration of how sequels can wear a premise thin. In the case of comedy, it is the desperation for good jokes. It is the abundance of gross-out toilet gags that are a sure sign that the writers had to come up with something fast in a specific amount of time.

Leaving where the last film left off, Greg and Pam (Teri Polo) are engaged and planning their wedding. However, things cannot go on until her parents meet his parents. So Greg and the Byrnes family hop into Jack's high tech RV and drive down to Miami to meet these crazy Fockers. Along for the ride is Jack's sign-language speaking, highly intelligent grandbaby Little Jack (played by twins Spencer and Brad Pickren). Of course, the little tyke frowns on Greg and his male nurse profession just like his grandfather does.

The family arrives at the Isle of Focker in Miami, and Greg's parents are a hoot right off the bat. How can they not be when they are played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand? Bernie and Roz Focker are Jewish liberal hippies that live their lives on the essence of freedom and expression. While Jack was told that Greg's parents are a doctor and a lawyer, it turns out that Roz is a sex therapist, and Bernie is a lawyer-turned stay-at-home-dad. Of course with the tightly wound values of Jack Byrnes pitted against the "relax dude" mannerisms of the Fockers, many humorous situations arise.

Meet the Fockers is pretty much a hit-and-miss outing. There are times when I laughed hysterically at jokes containing the spirit of the original film. Take for example the addition of Little Jack to the film. Some of the more genuinely funny moments come from this little devil, especially in a scene that shows the negative effects of babies being exposed to profanity. As well, Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Sreisand are perfectly cast as the Fockers. It is especially great to see Dustin Hoffman letting loose with a "wild man", carefree persona.

However, other times I watched some of the films jokes in a moment of awkward silence. It is blatantly obvious when the writers had a deadline to meet and had to just write something lazy down on paper. Take for example a scene where a piece of foreskin somehow ends up falling into a pot of hot fondue. Or other various scenes where the Focker's Chihuahua named Moses runs around the house humping everything in sight (I actually found this to be funny, but there is no denying that it is way overused. I just still can't get over how animal wranglers can get dogs to hump things on command).

Is Meet the Fockers a funny movie? Of course it is, and I had a great time watching it. However, it doesn't pack the smarts and laughs nearly as much as Meet the Parents, and it is destined to disappoint anyone looking for the same winning material.

The film itself has an option to view an extended version. I selected this feature and found it to be quite annoying. A little logo appears on the screen when the inserted footage is playing. Of course this logo is unneeded because the contrasting image quality speaks for itself. This is a nice effort, but just isn't too amusing.

As expected from comedy DVD's this day and age there is a whole slew of bloopers and deleted scenes. I love a good blooper reel, but this one is a little long. Watching people crack up between takes is funny, but it sure can get old. The deleted scenes are mostly brief fillers that are better off removed from the finished product. They just add on to the running time but do not contribute to the plotline.

There are a few featurettes here, and some of them are desperate and silly just like some of the jokes in the film. Some of the more ridiculous features include a mockumentary that treats Jinx the Cat like he is a real superstar actor, and a doc*mentary where Jay Roach goes into detail on how a plastic boob prop was created. I didn't realize that creating a plastic boob required so much research and hard work.

A couple of the more interesting features include a Focker family portrait which interviews Stiller, Hoffman, and Streisand, and a mini doc*mentary about how the baby wrangler got Little Jack to do his superb acting.

As well, there is a somewhat dull commentary track by director Jay Roach and editor/co-producer Jon Poll.
Anamorphic Widescreen (Aspect Ratio 1.85:1). This is a film with more emphasis on comic timing, than visually stunning direction. However, comedy is old hat for Jay Roach and his filmmaking decisions are satisfactory. As for the picture quality, it looked clear enough for me with the exception of extended footage that is a little grainy.
Dolby Digital 5.1. Flipping on the surround sound may make the viewing experience pleasant with the occasional Randy Newman song on the soundtrack. Other than that, this is a comedy dependent on dialogue. Whether you have two-speakers or five, this film will still sound great.
Standard DVD keep case. A photo of the ensemble cast is on the front cover.
Meet the Fockers certainly does not live up to the humor that the original Meet the Parents delivered, and I didn't really expect it to be as funny in the first place. Sadly, I usually just expect that of sequels. Though I am not saying that I do not recommend the film. With the perfect addition of Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand, their free spirit bickering is the perfect combination with DeNiro's stern father character. I suggest renting Meet the Fockers before investing in a purchase. This film is guaranteed to evoke at least a few laughs.

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