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"Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

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"Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Old 12-19-10, 10:43 PM
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"Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Was wondering if "Little Fockers" could be any worse than "Meet the Fockers". But based on the troubled production with reshoots and the horrible trailer, looks like it might be. Cutting and pasting three reviews I just found.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

This unsavory hodgepodge is the latest installment in a franchise that has overstayed its welcome.
Little Fockers is focking dismal. Clearly nothing but a paycheck project for all concerned, this is definitely the least and hopefully the last of a franchise that started amusingly enough a decade ago but has now officially overstayed its welcome. Still, this won't stop quite a few folks from parting with some bucks in search of some holiday season yucks, the majority of them from jokes that could have originated on men's room walls.

The title of this unsavory hodgepodge is misleading, in that very little time is spent with the twin sprigs of Greg and Pam Focker. After attention shifted in the second installment, Meet the Fockers, to the enjoyably hedonistic seniors played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, the focus has here reverted to the tension between Ben Stiller's distracted male nurse and his intimidating father-in-law, Jack, played by Robert De Niro, who wants Greg to man up to his responsibilities and become the clan's "godfocker."

Providing the distraction for Greg is Jessica Alba's Andi Garcia (yes, much mileage is made of her name), a hot-to-trot drug company rep who, for inexplicable reasons, decides that Greg would be the perfect guy to promote Sustengo, an erectile disfunction drug. This one plot element not only sets the very low tenor of most of the film's gags, but also introduces the possibility that Andi might lead Greg astray, which she could no doubt accomplish without the help of her product.

But the suspense generated by the threat to Greg's fidelity is nothing compared to the breathless excitement created by the momentum leading up to the film's climactic event -- the twins' fifth birthday party. For this, of course, all four grandparents must travel to the Focker abode in Chicago, with Greg's dad, Bernie (Hoffman), needing to come in all the way from Spain, where the old lech has taken up flamenco dancing.

Greg's filthy rich pal Kevin (Owen Wilson) is rescued from matrimony to a predatory Russian bride to host the birthday event on a grand scale at his estate, the only unexpected fruit of which is a little makeout scene between Wilson and Streisand.

But lest we forget the pervasive influence of Sustengo, it is responsible for no end of lewd remarks as well as for the film's big stab at an outrageous setpiece, Having visibly acquired the desired results, Jack needs quick relief from his condition, something only Greg can provide with an injection in the relevant area. And then they're caught in the act.

Anchored by humor of this nature, the film will probably be a big favorite in retirement homes and with mainstream audiences of a certain age. But screenwriters John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey have hardly strained themselves trying to come up with fresh gags, while director Paul Weitz, stepping in for Jay Roach, who this time contents himself with a producer's credit, just keeps pushing haphazardly from one frantic incident to the next.

The series' veterans know what's expected of them, so suffering most from this lack of special care is series newcomer Alba, who is made to look foolish as her Andi relentlessly pursues Greg to the brink, as if there weren't some more suitable guy upon whom she could bestow her favors. Laura Dern shows up briefly in a mocking turn as the director of a New Age-y institution called "Early Human School."

From Variety:

Nonstop in-law animosity would seem to have exhausted its comedic potential with "Little Fockers," a lazy attempt to milk a few more laughs and bucks from the enormously lucrative property spawned 10 years ago by "Meet the Parents." Good for a few incidental chuckles at best, this Paul Weitz-directed romp piles on the strained shenanigans as it pushes Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro toward what one hopes will be a climactic showdown. While some customer loyalty is to be expected, the unmistakable whiff of franchise fumes should keep pic out of the high-end neighborhood ($279 million domestic) occupied by "Meet the Fockers."
Whereas the first two films followed the ever well-meaning, always frustrated Greg Focker (Stiller) and bride-to-be Pam (Teri Polo) on prenuptial trips to Long Island and Florida, "Little Fockers" zeroes in on the Chicago-based couple as they approach middle age and deal with the usual challenges related to work, finances and the raising of their twin children, Samantha (Daisy Tahan) and Henry (Colin Baiocchi). Greg is under considerable pressure to make some extra dough, renovate the family's dream home and find a good school for the kids -- all of which is exacerbated, of course, by the presence of Pam's overbearing ex-CIA dad, Jack Byrnes (De Niro), who has flown in with sweetly long-suffering wife Dina (Blythe Danner) for their grandchildren's birthday party.

While the married-with-children angle would seem to offer a wealth of fresh material, pic falls back more tiresomely than ever on the persona of its top-billed star, continually poking fun at De Niro's rich history as an avatar of cinematic aggression. Thus, when Jack suffers a heart attack and suspects he may not be long for this world, he anoints Greg "the Godfocker," charging him with the sacred responsibility of protecting and maintaining the Byrnes family line. Sometime later, Harvey Keitel turns up in a wink-wink cameo that exists solely to justify the ostensibly hilarious sight of the two "Taxi Driver" nemeses coming to verbal blows.

De Niro submits to all this self-referencing nonsense with a straight if scowling face, and gamely plays along with one especially dignity-sapping sequence that makes this the second comedy of the season, after "Love & Other Drugs," to feature misuse of an erectile-dysfunction aid. Other gags are simply unpleasant, visible from a mile away (it's never a good sign when someone has to carve a turkey in one of these movies), and of no consequence in terms of sustaining comic tension. While its Jay Roach-directed predecessors were predicated on meetings between strangers and staged for maximum discomfort, awkwardness and anxiety, "Little Fockers" feels like just another cute kiddie comedy -- packed with fart and vomit jokes that promptly dissipate by the next scene, and prone to spouting endless variations on "Gaylord Focker" in the absence of bigger laughs.

Pic largely jettisons the WASP-Jew culture clash that was a subtext of "Meet the Parents" and an explicit dynamic of "Meet the Fockers": As Greg's wacky bohemian parents, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand are seen only sporadically, although Owen Wilson duly returns as the super-successful golden boy whom Jack still fancies (10 years later?) a better choice of husband for Pam.

Script by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey (replacing Hamburg's regular co-writer, Jim Herzfeld)attempts a sincere look at the challenges of raising a family and keeping a marriage healthy, especially given the temptations posed by a way-too-flirtatious drug rep (Jessica Alba) at the hospital where Greg works. The softer edge is also attributable to Weitz, who, before his recent forays into fantasy, helmed such serious-minded comedies as "In Good Company" and "About a Boy" (with brother Chris).

Result, however, simply feels timid, unsurprising and conservative-minded in all respects; if we must have "Little Fockers," a certain daring, out-there quality would not have been unwelcome. Jack's health problems briefly raise the specter of death, and at multiple points, one wishes the filmmakers had the courage to take these intimations of mortality to their logical conclusion and let the old bastard succumb already, franchise longevity be damned. As it is, pic ends on a note that all but promises another sequel.

Tech credits are standard, Los Angeles doing the best it can to double as Chicago. Laura Dern has a welcome walk-on role as the head of an elite private school, and perfs overall are well tuned under the circumstances. Amusing end-credits sequence merely underlines the fact that this franchise's best days are well behind it.



And just a random one I found online:

LITTLE FOCKERS - Century City Review
Miv Evans

I can’t remember much about the first two Focker films, which isn’t a particularly good sign, but I know for sure I will never forget the third, but not because I was entertained. This latest addition to the series is juvenile, hackneyed, without one funny moment and all other comedies can now be judged with a simple “Was it as bad as Little Fockers?”

Both sets of in-laws are going to join Greg (Ben Stiller) and Pam (Teri Polo) for their grandchildren’s fifth birthday. Meanwhile, Greg has been offered a commission by a drug rep, Andi, to promote the latest version of Viagra. Jack (Robert De Niro) becomes suspicious about his son-in-law’s relationship with the attractive Andi and tries to engineer a marital split, despite the couple claiming that they are still in love.

The definition of a farce, which is the only genre this film can be described as, is “a light dramatic work in which improbable situations and exaggerated characters are used for humorous effect”. Jack and Andi are both exaggerated (psychotic tyrant and over-excited hussy), but Greg is very ordinary and, as most of the screen time is taken up with these three, comes over as a big fat nothing and makes the other two look like caricatures. As regards the other characters, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner (Jack’s wife) are given little to do so hang around like talking statues and Mr & Mrs Focker (Streisand and Hoffman) have virtually no interaction with anyone, including each other, so presumably they got the gig simply so their star studded names could be included in the line-up.

This film does, however, score on the “improbable situations” aspect of the farce but, because nothing of any consequence has been created, there is nothing to resolve at the end. The writer is all too aware of this so doesn’t waste time on any kind of story resolution and simply lets Jack deliver one single sentence and then, bam, the credits roll. Under the circumstances, this sharp exit was appreciated.

And finally, we come to the cell phones that never stop ringing, which not only indicates a lack of face to face communication and is also extremely irritating. This method of storytelling also had the unwelcome side-effect of making the audience take out their own phones to look at the time, or it could possibly be that they’re all like me and, call us old fashioned, but we really do prefer it if our comedy makes us laugh.
Old 12-20-10, 09:56 AM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Do we really need reviews to tell us that this is going to be a horrible movie?
Old 12-20-10, 01:38 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by d2cheer View Post
Do we really need reviews to tell us that this is going to be a horrible movie?
Um, YES! For sheer entertainment purposes.
Old 12-20-10, 02:19 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Armond White is going to love it and amend his Top 10 of 2010 to knock off Scott Pilgrim.
Old 12-20-10, 04:21 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Another gem, from HitFix.

Review: 'Little Fockers' drives the Stiller/De Niro franchise into the ground

Boy, I'm glad I waited to write my top ten list until I'd seen this one. Can you imagine how embarrassed I would have been having to change it?

Oh, wait, I mean worst of list. That's right.

Wow. "Little Fockers" is just discouraging. I would imagine there is no one involved who feels genuinely good about the outcome. It's so dead, so calculated, so forced. It is a startlingly gross and dirty film considering it is ostensibly about the kids this time around, and it is a PG-13. Doesn't matter. They didn't make this for families at all. Or if they did, they made it for families who already hate each other and don't mind inflicting pain on one another in a movie theater.

Here's the moment where the film came close to just breaking my spirit: Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel end up face to face at one point. Yes, that's right. Harvey Keitel is in this for about nine minutes, and it makes no sense why they hired him unless it was just so they could say they had put him face to face with De Niro. It's hardly a selling point. The two of them just stand there and look at each other like, "Hey, I get it… I'm here for the check, too… but you remember when this meant something?"

I just recently caught up with the Joan Rivers documentary, and there's a sort of breathtaking moment where she's on her way to an event where she's going to have to share the stage with a laundry list of working comics, and they run down the list for her, with Joan offering up a few words on each. "Genius." "Clever." "Funny." "Very Funny." And then they offer up Ben Stiller's name, and she hesitates for a moment before offering up one succinct word: "Lucky." I'm not sure I completely agree, but Stiller is one of those people who has gotten a long way on the strength of the collaborators he's chosen. Left to his own devices, I don't feel like there's much we haven't seen from him at this point, and his work here is tired, indifferent. I don't believe Stiller most of the time. I find there's a chilly remove to him, the sense that behind his eyes, he hates most of what he does onscreen. And I wouldn't blame him based on this script.

In the new Patton Oswalt book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, there's an amazing chapter that is fake script notes for a comedy rewrite, and it is one of the angriest, most lacerating looks at what passes for studio comedy that I've ever seen. Furious. By the end of it, you get the feeling that Patton's read every one of these scripts, and he knows exactly how bankrupt it all is, and he knows there's nothing you can do to change it. He has embraced the essential surreality of our industry, and that's why he's a success as a rewriter and a script doctor. The fake movie he describes in that chapter feels an awful lot like "Little Fockers," and I know what bothers me most about these films. I don't know anyone in my real life who behaves the way these characters do. In the first film, there's a very real social anxiety about meeting the parents of your potential partner that we can all relate to, and they just exaggerated things for effect. At this point, these people have done that typical studio comedy thing where they've had to turn up the aggression in each film, creating an entire movie full of sociopaths who no one recognizes in their own family anymore. These people tell each other elaborate lies and engage in stupid subterfuge and make incredibly stupid choices that make me question their basic moral make-up. As a result, by the time the labored set pieces reach the big finish and you've got someone stabbing someone else in the boner with a needle or throwing up in someone's face or in some other way humiliating or hurting someone for cheap laughs, it's hard to find any of it funny because it's all just frantic and fake.

Owen Wilson is insufferable, Blythe Danner looks like she knows better (she definitely deserves better), and quick cameos by Streisand and Hoffman add nothing to the movie. There's not really much of a through-line this time, and I doubt the idea of trying to become "the GodFocker" (don't ask) is as universal as the core premise of the first two films. So they just turn it up and hope no one notices how empty all the grotesquerie really is. I like outrageous comedy. Really. But it's hard for me to see Paul Weitz directing and De Niro and Stiller starring and then reconcile that with a scene where a Viagra-crazed Jessica Alba kicks a man 20 feet into an empty pool before jumping on him and blacking out. Really, gentlemen?

Really?
Old 12-20-10, 04:54 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

/\ I'm liking this thread already Hope we see a Gulliver's Travels thread this week, too.
Old 12-22-10, 04:37 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

That last review touches on something I realized when I first saw the trailer to this. In the first movie, the characters, Greg included, are all aware that 'Focker' is a funny name (and 'Gaylord' as well). The characters are in on the joke.

In the sequels, 'Focker' is thrown about quite a bit, but this time the characters no longer seem to be aware of what they're saying. They say things like 'Martha Focker' without a hint of irony. They use the name in ways a normal person wouldn't use a normal last name. All this awkward, unnatural usage is done strictly for the audience's benefit and is about as true-to-life as a laugh track sitcom pause with the laugh track removed.
Old 12-22-10, 06:12 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

There's actually a throwaway line about the use of "Focker" at the end of the film. Got a laugh, too.

While this film did not have the greatest script, nor much to offer in the clever department, viewed as a farce, it plays a little better. It did make me laugh at the contrived situations, so I can't say I detested like many other "snobby" reviewers, but if you just need some comfort food in the form of movies over the holidays, a matinee showing of "Little Fockers" won't sour your mood, and might even give you a few laughs.

I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
Old 12-22-10, 06:17 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

My local paper gave it 1 out of 5 stars. I didn't want to see it before that, but now I do.
Old 12-23-10, 08:57 AM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Worst movie of the year, hands down... absolutely painful from start to finish. I didn't laugh ONCE.
Old 12-23-10, 09:31 AM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

If DeNiro's name is attached to anything nowadays, I know right away to avoid it.
Old 12-23-10, 10:11 AM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by d2cheer View Post
Do we really need reviews to tell us that this is going to be a horrible movie?


Nice.

I swear that was the thought in my mind when I saw this thread. Well my exact thought was - 'you mean someone would actually need to see this to know it will suck?'.
Old 12-24-10, 12:39 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

The review up at spill.com is hilarious. I don't think I've ever heard them trash a film that much.
Old 12-24-10, 01:21 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

And yet it opened at #1 Wednesday & is expected to top 50-60 million by the end of the weekend. Proving once again that America really & truly is as stupid as Hollywood believes it is.
Old 12-24-10, 02:24 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Heck, this is how I felt about the first one. Glad to see the critics are finally catching up to my forward-looking taste.
Old 12-24-10, 02:29 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Heck, this is how I felt about the first one. Glad to see the critics are finally catching up to my forward-looking taste.

Parents was decent entertainment and had a couple genuinely good laughs. The sequel is abysmal imo. I cannot fathom how wretched this thing must actually be.

Last edited by SkinJob; 12-24-10 at 02:39 PM.
Old 12-24-10, 03:32 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

I liked the first and second one, dont know about the third but reading so called critic reviews its like all of a sudden people are above low brow comedies..and Brian Orndorf imo writes to just read his own witty diatribes.

It may be outta gas like the latest Shrek was Ill see when it comes to dvd.
Old 12-24-10, 07:37 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by FlickMan View Post
I liked the first and second one, dont know about the third but reading so called critic reviews its like all of a sudden people are above low brow comedies..and Brian Orndorf imo writes to just read his own witty diatribes.

It may be outta gas like the latest Shrek was Ill see when it comes to dvd.
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Old 12-24-10, 07:39 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Jaymole View Post
If DeNiro's name is attached to anything nowadays, I know right away to avoid it.
He's going to be doing that Scorsese movie with Pesci and Pacino and I am definitely looking forward to that one.
Old 12-25-10, 05:27 PM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

I went to see it on Thursday, I have enjoyed the first two movies and watch them whenever they are on tv. But there was no plot or point to this movie, there may have been a few middle chuckles thats it. Btw does Owen Wilson have to be in every movie that stars Ben Stiller.
Old 01-30-11, 09:17 AM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by gmanca View Post
He's going to be doing that Scorsese movie with Pesci and Pacino and I am definitely looking forward to that one.
Definately. That should be great but doesn't come out until late 2012 I'm hearing now?
Old 01-31-11, 12:41 AM
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Re: "Little Fockers" - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by johnmc5 View Post
Definately. That should be great but doesn't come out until late 2012 I'm hearing now?
So what did you think about Little Fockers?

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