In the year 2000, a little unassuming comedy called Meet the Parents was released and was a surprise smash hit, critically popular and even earned an Oscar nod for Best Song. It was funny, but I failed to see why it was so popular with everybody. The cast was really good and played up to the comedy well, it was well directed and well written with a lot of potential, but it had one major flaw. The film wanted us to feel deep empathy for Greg Focker.
The film kept on dumping on him for him being a nurse, his unusual last name, his liberal leanings and non-WASPy background. If Greg accidentally did something wrong, everyone, including his fiancee, would turn their backs on him and leave him out in the cold. Sure, Jack was in the CIA and very protective of his family but his, and his family's, hatred for Greg was unjustified.
The sequel cranked up the gross-out humor, which is strange since the first film had next to none. The casting was yet again perfect (Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner along with Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streissand as Greg's parents), but the film was overly long, fairly joyless and yet again, Greg being dumped on by Jack. So how is the third, and possibly last, film in the series?
5 years after Meet the Fockers, Greg (Ben Stiller, yet again returning) has left nursing behind to work at a pharmaceutical company. His twins are about to turn 5, and his father-in-law Jack (De Niro, reprising his role) comes in and visits along with his wife Dina (Blythe Danner). Jack has been diagnosed with a heart condition and decides to pass on the head of the family to Greg, rather reluctantly.
Greg's sister-in-law recently divorced her husband, and was the original pick to head the family, but cheating on her with a nurse changed things severely. Of course Greg and Jack butt heads, yet again, because Jack thinks he is having an affair with drug rep Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba). No joke, her name is Andi Garcia. Let it sink in.
Anyways Greg and Jack finally have it out but tragedy strikes and family must come first to keep it together despite problems that every family suffers.
Okay, first things first.... Why did it take 6 years for the writers to mash out more lame jokes based on the surname Focker? Is it really that hard Hollywood? Anyways, I have to say this is a hugely unfunny, unneeded and unfortunately successful.
The story could have been interesting, with death inching closer and closer, and trying to pass on the family torch to a new head, but then they revert back to Focker jokes, gross out gags and a hot chick, because why not?
Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro are such good actors, but the screenplay makes the characters unlikable and irredeemable that has me praising the heavens above that (So far....) there has been no more films in the series. Blythe Danner and Teri Polo, as Dina and Pam respectively, are given nothing to do, Jessica Alba is terrible in the film (Deserving of that Razzie) and Hoffman and Streissand contribute nothing but names on the marque, with their subplots shoehorned in with the grace of a size 14 slamming into a size 8 shoe.
Paul Weitz is usually a pretty good director, with his brother Chris Weitz at his side, with About a Boy, American Pie and several others under their beltz, but he just let the whole film sink into cheap cash-in mode, sucking up every last cent from unimpressed audiences. The screenplay, as I stated above, is complete garbage and crippled with sever sequelitis.
Of course there are a few positives, namely Owen Wilson returning as Jack's pick for Pam's husband, Kevin. The cinematography is decent, the score complacent, set design, sound and everything else pretty sound and well budgeted. But, after checking up on IMDb.com for some information, I saw the budget was for $100 million. I didn't see a CGI sci-fi film, an action extravaganza, or a crazy comedy that involves a huge cast traversing the southwestern US in search of money. This is a blockbuster budgeted movie where the joke is a last name.
Money not well spent...
Moving on to the disc itself, we start off with the PQ. Shot on 35mm film (Increasingly rare for comedies nowadays), the film looks like a modern day comedy, with that golden light glow, some murky indoor shots, but all around a sharp and detailed pictured. There is some softness and some minor ringing here and there, but I attribute this to the cinematographer and director's wishes.
The AQ is also well-done, being a standard comedy track. The 5.1 DTS-HD track is mainly centered upfront, rendering the dialogue balanced and audible (Unfortunately...) but sometimes there is some balancing issues where the music can overtake the dialogue from time to time. LFE is quite nice and surprising, but serviceable to fans of the film.
Moving to the extras, we start off with 14 minutes of deleted scenes, all in HD, and all like the film; rarely funny. There is also 7 minutes of alternate scenes of the same quality, and in HD. There is a fairly lengthy outtakes reel, clocking in at 7 minutes, and there are actual laughs. More laughs than the entire film and at 1/10 the time!
The Making of a Godfocker (Awww geez.....) is a pretty decent 15-minute featurette on the making of the film, just nothing groundbreaking. Bob and Ben is a 5 minute sitdown with de Niro and Stiller, but with de Niro being infamously quiet and shy, it ends up being a one-sided affair. Ben and Owen though improves on matters, but its also 5 minutes and fairly forgettable.
Bout Time is a 4 minute is probably the most interesting featurette, talking about the fight Jack and Greg have at the climax, but being as short as it is makes it disheartening that nothing substantial was really included on the disc. Finishing off the on disc extras is The Focker Foot Locker, a very lame 2 minute mashup of every time someone has said "Focker", and BD-Live functionality as well. There is also a DVD and a digital copy included along with another code for a free movie, both of which are expired.
So if you couldn't tell, I pretty much hated the film and not really fond of the franchise as a whole. I pretty much expect to be thrown out of the Circle of Trust at this point, and I couldn't be more happier.