Business rating: 2 stars

Star cast: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Dustin Hoffman, Teri Polo, Jessica Alba, Dustin Hoffman.

Plot: Father-in-law Robert De Niro is ready to hand over his position of the patriarch to Ben Stiller. But is Ben man enough? And is he having an affair with Jessica Alba?

What’s Good: The comedy; the cute kids; Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s performances.

What’s Bad: The script could have been better; some comic scenes, involving the private parts, might offend a few.

Verdict: Little Fockers is a worthy sequel to Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers and entertains because of the humourous situations in the script and the good performances.

Loo break: None really.

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Watch or Not?: Definitely go for it. But do not expect understated or classy humour.

Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro in a still from 'Little Fockers'

Paramount Pictures, Relativity Media and Universal Pictures’ Little Fockers is a sequel to the films, Meet The Parents (2000) and Meet The Fockers (2004), which were based on the tug-of-war between an ex-CIA agent, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), and a male nurse, Gaylord Greg Focker (Ben Stiller). In the first film, Jack, paranoid about Greg’s profession and Jewish roots, does not allow him to date his daughter, Pam (Teri Polo). In the second edition, Jack launches a full-fledged investigation into Greg Focker’s genealogy when he meets his Greg’s parents, Bernie Focker (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Focker (Barbra Streisand). Finally, however, Pam and Greg happily unite in matrimony.

Little Fockers also stars Pam and Greg’s twins, Samantha (Daisy Tahan) and Henry (Colin Baiocchi), who live with their parents in a small suburban home. Greg is no longer a male nurse but the head male nurse and he even gets to wear a suit to work. Greg and Pam are planning a big party on the occasion of the fifth birthday of their twins, in the backyard of their new house that is being built. At the hospital, Greg gets a visitor in the hot and sexy Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba), a former nurse, who is working with a company that makes a male enhancement drug called Sustengo. Andi convinces Greg to become the spokesperson of the drug by offering him monetary compensation. Greg agrees as he is worried about the education of his children. Pam and Greg plan on visiting the Early Human School for a tour of its facilities.

In the meantime, Jack and his wife, Dina (Blythe Danner), are discussing the divorce of their younger daughter.  Soon after, Dina leaves to comfort her daughter. Suddenly, Jack suffers from a minor heart attack but manages to save himself by giving himself electric shocks. Resolute to have his family lineage going on, Jack calls up Greg and offers him the post of the Byrnes patriarch, the “God-Focker”. But Greg must fulfill certain conditions before he can take on the mantle. Inspired, Greg starts behaving like the patriarch of the family but to no avail. At the family dinner with Jack and Dina, he stupidly cuts his finger while trying to cut a turkey. Around the same time, Pam’s ex-lover, Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson), comes back from a holiday and endears everyone with his charm. Jack starts rethinking Pam’s future. He wonders if Greg is good enough for his daughter and grandchildren, as Kevin clearly is the richer and more resourceful guy and is still in love with Pam. He starts snooping and discovers a photo of Andi kissing Greg on the cheek on the Internet. Jack becomes even more suspicious of his son-in-law and starts following him around. He pleads with Pam to consider switching partners but she flatly refuses.

On the other hand, Greg is trying hard to be a good father but circumstances and misfortune keep putting him in difficult (and hilarious) situations. Ultimately, even the kids’ birthday party is held at Kevin’s mansion, while Greg is lying in a ditch with a semi-nude Andi wrapped around him… What happens next? Is Greg able to prove to Jack that he is man enough? Where are Bernie and Roz? The climax of the film tells the rest of the tale.

Daisy Tahan and Colin Baiocchi in a still from 'Little Fockers'

Story and Screenplay

John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey’s screenplay is hilarious because of the slapstick comedy that runs throughout the film. Scenes like Greg cutting his own finger; Jack’s condition after he consumes Sustengo; Greg behaving like Marlon Brando from The Godfather; and Kevin’s eccentric behavior — they are all very funny. The characters, created by Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke, are extremely weird, and therefore, hilarious. For instance, Greg’s mom, Roz, has a television sex show, where she discusses the sex life of her son. His father, on the other hand, is somewhere in Spain, learning salsa to get rid of his man-o-pause. Such trashy but funny bits make the film a fun watch.

However, the screenplay is not without its flaws. How can Jack think of appointing Greg as the patriarch one moment and start suspecting him the very next moment? Also, the inclusion of the characters of Kevin and Dr. Bob (Jack’s other son-in-law) in the script seems too contrived. The story could, of course, have been much better. But then, the film lives up to its legacy of toilet humour (with comic scenes involving private parts). Certain Indian audiences, of course, will not appreciate this sort of humour.

Star Performances

The film could have not done without Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro’s performances, both of who play their goofy characters very well. Ben looks a little stone-faced in his scenes with Owen Wislon who steals the show in the little screen time he gets. Jessica Alba does what is required of her: she looks hot. Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Blythe Danner provide able support. Tina Polo is effective. The kids, Daisy Tahan and Colin Baiocchi, look cute and perform well.

Jessica Alba in a still from 'Little Fockers'

Direction

Paul Weitz’s direction is as it should be: he delivers the punches at the right moments; there is not a dull moment on the screen.  Stephen Trask’s background score is okay. Cinematography, by Remi Adefarasin, is effective. Editing (Greg Hayden, Leslie Jones and Myron I. Kerstein) should have been crisper.

The Last Word

All in all, Little Fockers makes for a good weekend watch. All those familiar with the franchise will enjoy the film a lot. Expect it to do average business at the Indian box-office as the film’s publicity has been good.

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