Little Fockers, Ben Stiller

Directed by Paul Weitz. Starring Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson.

A threequel that stretches the premise of a guy trying to please his imperious father-in-law who now wants the grandkids to be moulded in his fashion.

After Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers, it’s time to meet the kids. But wait a minute! The parents and grandparents have always been the real kids, right? Sure enough, they prove once again that the little tykes aren’t the ones with height-matching IQ’s. Greg ‘Gaylord’ Focker and his wife and kids have settled down to family life but grouchy grandpa Jack Byrnes played by De Niro isn’t letting them get too comfortable. After his favourite son-in-law cheats on his other daughter, Jack bestows the title of Godfocker on Greg, indicating that he is the chosen one now, the one to instil in his kids all the Byrnes family culture and values.

About A Boy director Paul Weitz really doesn’t have much to work with here in terms of plot. Methinks he just gives free reign to the veteran actors — De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson, Laura Dern and Stiller — who go about rehashing pretty much what they did in the last two films i.e. abusing, insulting, hitting, mocking and showing up each other.

Hoffman and Streisand don’t appear much in the film, which is a shame. But De Niro manages to keep it on his shoulders with a little help from Wilson and Jessica Alba whose supporting roles infuse some freshness to this stale franchise.

Don’t get me wrong, the film has its moments, you’ll chuckle at some of the quips and slapstick humour, you’ll grimace at some of the vulgar comedy (De Niro takes some Viagra-like pills giving him a ‘boner’ and Stiller has to inject it with adrenalin to make it go down). Then there’s the whole parody of The Godfather and a scene paying comic homage to Jaws. But at just over one-and-a-half hours, the film wears thin and wears you down by the end. De Niro has apparently said he’d want to do these movies in his ‘wheelchair’ years too. Focking hell!

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