Meet the Parents: Little Fockers

Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Barbra Steisand and Dustin Hoffman return in a tired and tiring comedy from a series that has run out of steam. By Peter Bradshaw

It's a measure of how accepted this franchise has become that there are no more single-entendre jokes about the name "Focker". It's become entirely accepted. This tired and tiring comedy resurrects characters who really are going through the motions. The idea this time is that having young kids is putting strain on this uniquely fraught extended family. Ben Stiller is back as Greg Focker, who has now been promoted from mere nurse to being head of nursing at a city hospital. Robert De Niro is back as his formidable father-in-law Jack Byrnes, the former CIA tough guy who takes a dim view of unsuitable young men marrying his daughters. Owen Wilson reprises his role as the impossibly rich, spiritual guy that everyone loves; Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman are back as Greg's parents. All of them are visibly phoning in their performances. The direction and writing are phoned in, and probably the art direction and location catering too. The whole film is on some sort of conference call. Hoffman is woefully unfunny, though perhaps not as bad as Harvey Keitel, who gets a pointless and baffling cameo as a lazy construction worker. Jessica Alba and Laura Dern do their level best with small roles. The first two films were just so wildly profitable that this third episode was a given. Maybe there'll be a fourth, or even a fifth. Then we'll really be focked.


baffling: kłopotliwy

cameo: mała, epizodyczna rola

formidable: budzący grozę

fraught: pełen (napięca), brzemienny (w skutki)

put strain on: nadwyrężać

reprise: wznawiać

resurrect: ożywiać, wskrzeszać

single-entendre: od ‘double-entendre’: dwuznaczne wyrażenie, które może mieć podtekst seksualny

woefully: przygnębiająco

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