Every year there are movies released that I feel gain a certain amount of unfair criticism. It’s usually due to the “cookie cutter” composition of the film where it’s just more of the same and no distinguishing characteristics or tasteless humor or violence being the biggest missteps. I agree that failing to be different from other films in their perspective genres and lazy filmmaking do not make for memorable cinema, but I feel that as long as a film has the ability entertain here and there it has already achieved something and doesn’t deserve all the hate spewed forth towards it. A movie like LITTLE FOCKERS is not meant to stand head to toe to classic and award winning films, it’s meant to be seen by specific types of audiences; people who can take their comedy at face value and not look for any deeper meanings and just enjoy a night out at the theater with family and friends. When reading into criticism of the film I don’t disagree with many problems, but at the same time I can’t say I hate the movie because of its problems and actually came out feeling like I was entertained and that’s all I ever ask for.
LITTLE FOCKERS is the continued antics of Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) who now have two kids Samantha and Henry. Pam’s ex-CIA father Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) is suffering from some heart problems and is concerned as to who to put in charge of his family’s well being should he pass away. Due to the recent infidelity of Pam’s sister’s husband Dr. Bob, and their divorce Jack becomes suspicious of Greg’s late night encounters with Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba), a drug rep offering Greg the opportunity to sponsor an erectile dysfunction pill designed for heart patients. Greg and Jack spar off of each other as Jack stalks and questions Greg’s commitment to his family.
My disclaimer here regarding LITTLE FOCKERS is that I was a fan of the previous Focker escapades MEET THE PARENTS and MEET THE FOCKERS. No I do not think they are the most brilliant movies ever made nor do I think the jokes are comedic gold that will go down in history as comedy classics. I simply enjoy the way the films do not take themselves too seriously, even if at times they try to come off as heartfelt and moving at cliché moments toward the end of each. I do not default to the Focker clan for the do’s and don’ts of relationship advice, but at the same time there is a certain understated honesty to what they are trying to hint towards, but I can fill in the blanks that the script doesn’t fill for the audience. Much of LITTLE FOCKERS enjoyment comes from one’s ability to not take themselves too seriously and appreciate the small moments of subtlety, even if the film is not a product of genius subtle humor, many of my laughs came from revisiting moments from the previous two films and just trying to have a good time. It should be mentioned that I also enjoyed the previous two films more than LITTLE FOCKERS as the third film does a lot of callbacks to the first two while not adding a lot of new or memorable jokes or gags to the series.
If you saw the name Jessica Alba above and Oscar gold came into your head I hate to be the bearer of bad news but she’s embarrassingly bad here. Alba is a mixture of your psycho ex girlfriend you had to change your number and address to escape and that annoying high school girl you wanted to push in front of the school bus. Her dialogue is the equivalent to a character from Diablo Cody’s script for Juno that has a serious head injury and is completely devoid of anything that resembles a realistic medical professional. There is hope for anyone lusting after Alba’s sex appeal though as she does strip down to her bra and panties and does a swan dive into a giant muddy hole and if that doesn’t scream classy cinema, then I don’t know what does. The rest of the gang all do exactly what they’re known for in regards to the series with a little more over the top flare than I really expected. What disappointed me the most was the severe lack of Dustin Hoffman as Bernie Focker. Hoffman and Streisand were the biggest draw to MEET THE FOCKERS and Hoffman’s performance of Bernie completely won me over so his small part in this sequel was very disappointing.
There isn’t much else to get too in depth over for a movie such as this; LITTLE FOCKERS won’t be bowling people over with its extensive musical score or witty script and if you consider basic clothing attire that can be seen on just about any person you pass on the street as genius wardrobe application then yeah, the wardrobe department really knocked it out of the park. I can say that for any parent on the fence about its content there is some questionable potty humor and a scene of profuse blood squirting that may not be appropriate for the little ones, as well as a liberal use of the Focker last name that really had me questioning at times if they were actually throwing out F bombs because there seemed to be more emphasis on the expletive form than as last name usage.
In the end LITTLE FOCKERS is a film that must be taken in perspective; if you didn’t like the first two then don’t even bother seeing or commenting on this one. If more Focker hi jinx is what the doctor ordered then you’ll get a partially adequate dose here, but more of the negative side effects than the positive. I can only recommend LITTLE FOCKERS to fan of the first two films but with a warning that it’s not going to be the triumphant return of the characters you may have been hoping for, but for an hour and a half of entertainment you can do far worse.