Meet the Fockers
Universal Studios Home Video
Date: April 26, 2005
Review posted: April 27, 2005
Domestic disaster looms for male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) when his
straight-laced, ex-CIA father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) asks to meet his wildly
unconventional mom and dad (Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman). It's family
bonding gone hysterically haywire.
Meet the Fockers
was very funny the first time I saw it. It happened at a test
screening some three or four months before its theatrical release.
Seeing the movie in a crowed theater with a fairly young crowd
lightened up the viewing experience. Any movie can seem good with
the right audience, the same happened to me with Tomcats
(if you can even remember that one). Both movies felt completely
different after the second viewing.
The case with
Meet the Fockers is simple. The comedy is more or less
recycled, especially the ongoing joke about Greg's last name.
Robert DeNiro returns with his strict and mean spirit, the
character is not as effective here as he was in the first movie.
In fact, Jack is kind of a son of a bitch.
Much of the story again focuses on Greg trying to impress Jack,
but this time he feels embarrassed by his parents, who are kind of
weird but also somewhat loveable. Greg lies about his dad's
profession and tries to hide his mom's work (she's a sex
therapist). In short, Greg is quite insecure, which doesn't give
Ben Stiller much to work with, his character becoming weaker as
the movie goes along. This sequel
pretty much plays with the same formula and it's getting tired
while watching the movie.
Granted, there are
some good moments and jokes, but seeing the movie again made me
realize how most of the comedy is not genuine or fun but more
along the lines of embarrassing, cheap and over the top. Yes,
Hoffman and Streisand have fun with their roles, but their
characters are also pretty one-dimensional. The most notable flaw
is the script does almost nothing with the characters played by
Teri Polo and Blythe Danner. Yes, there are two subplots
concerning them, such as Pam's pregnancy and her mother trying to
be affectionate with Jack (but getting rejected), yet they are
pushed to the back as the main subplot revolves around the
possibility that Greg may have a teenage soon. Moreover, the
script places a lot of emphasis on the baby which Jack is now
nurturing. The screenwriters make it perform sign language, head
butt Greg, and utter the word "asshole" at least fifteen times.
The baby is cute and the situations happening around it produce
some funny moments.
While the first
movie was original, but this sequel tries too hard to have fun
over a weekend in Miami with a set of (essentially) wacky
characters. The DVD offers an extended version of the movie by
adding some fifteen minutes of footage to the existing hour and
fifty-five minutes running time. Scroll down to the "extras" for
more on the deleted scenes shown in the extended version.
Meet the Fockers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors look clean
and well saturated. Print quality is quite good except for some
specks and a little bit of grain. There is evidence of edge
enhancement early in the movie but then it disappears.
Sharpness and detail are decent, but other small flaws exist. Not
the best transfer from Universal. English captions are available,
as are Spanish and French subtitles.
Meet the Fockers in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, with the front speakers
delivering noise free audio. The music or sound effects are mostly
spread across the front speakers but some of the surrounds become
active during certain moments. Overall it's a good presentation
that doesn't offer anything special in terms of surround sound.
Spanish and French Dolby 5.1 dub tracks are also available.
(15:36) contain about twenty scenes, some of which are extensions
while others are new scenes. A lot of these aren't that good and wisely
got cut as they would've dragged down the movie even more (at two
hours it's already a long comedy). One extension occurs during the
dinner scene when Greg tries to snatch away the Focker family
album from his mom and a certain skin goes airborne. This new
footage is pretty ridiculous and makes the scene even more
unpleasant. The scenes also play via the
extended version feature.
(11:03) is a pretty large collection of laughs and line screw-ups
by DeNiro, Stiller, Hoffman, Streisand and Teri Polo. Some of the
bloopers are genuinely funny but the majority of them is just the
actors cracking up and having a good time (presumably). As for us
viewers, it becomes a bit boring. This extra should've been cut in
half to avoid becoming blooper overkill.
Inside the Litter
Box (4:03) is a faux featurette with interviews from the crew
(including director Jay Roach) on Jinx the cat. Lots of
behind-the-scenes footage is shown but ultimately this extra is
The Manary Gland
(3:06) is a discussion about the conception and research of the
"manary gland" worn by DeNiro's character. This is no enlightening
commentary by director Jay Roach and editor Jon Poll is decent
at best. They share some stories about what happened on the set,
some of the stuff is funny, but they tend to analyze the on-screen
action too much. This commentary is only available for the
theatrical cut of the movie. Unless you really love this movie,
this track isn't really worth listening to.
Portrait is an interview gallery divided into three parts
focusing on Bernie (2:22), Hoffman talks about his
character and other things, Roz (1:47), Streisand talks
about how she got involved with the film and more, and Greg
(1:53), Stiller about this and that.
Adventures of a
Baby Wrangler (5:34) features Rhonda Sherman, who worked with
the baby twins, in an interview in which she explains the process
of working with babies, citing some good examples. A nice extra.
Matt Lauer Meets
the Fockers (7:58) is a segment of the Today Show in which
Lauer interviews the major cast members who sit on family home
couches talking about the movie and their experiences on the set.
There's some nice stuff here such as stories and laughs. Overall a
"Training Day" (2:31) is an extended commercial for the show.
It's got a funny spin and some good moments. I've never seen the
show, but this clip got me excited about the first season DVD
release in May, which is perhaps the reason why this extra is even
included here, or Universal just wants to pimp its recently
Meet the Fockers
has some enjoyable moments, but the comedy is mostly recycled and
the script lacks punch. Despite a weak script the actors give it
their best, which makes the movie generally watchable but not
wholly likeable. A third Fockers adventure is not needed, I don't
VERDICT: RENT IT
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