by Hugh Fisher
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since “Meet the Parents?”
For me, seeing “Little Fockers” was right in line with those holiday moments that make you realize how time flies by. Like when you see your little cousin who – it seems like yesterday – had pigtails and played with Barbie dolls, only now she’s in college and wearing a business suit and talking about corporate responsibility and wanting you to sign a petition to ban plastic grocery bags.
You like the kid. She annoys you, but you like her. But mostly you can’t believe she’s grown up so much in 10 years.
“Little Fockers” can get that feeling out of you, if you let it.
One thing to clear up right away, for fans of the first two films, “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers,” the title isn’t misleading so much as it can be misinterpreted.
A good bit of the action focuses on Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) raising their precocious twins, but this isn’t a “child-raising” movie, really, so much as it’s a movie about the complicated lives of a family with kids. Not that I could’ve come up with a better title.
Now that his career as a male nurse has taken him about as far as he can go, Greg decides to supplement his income by moonlighting as a spokesman for (of all things) a “male enhancement” pill.
Enter the absolutely gorgeous Andi (Jessica Alba), the drug rep who makes Pam jealous and leaves ever-vigilant father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) wondering if he can trust Greg to carry the torch as head of the family.
Jack is feeling the weight of his mortality. He’s suffering from heart problems now, but that doesn’t slow him down.
There’s plenty to do with the Focker children. Scenes of the Focker twins being interviewed at an exclusive private school are worth the price of admission.
The one thing I wasn’t sure about when I walked into the theater was if this third installment would be able to give fans of the first two films something new to like while staying familiar. After all, how many more times can you show Jack spying on Greg? (Spoiler alert: Many, many more.)
But the movie weaves together hilarious situations involving marriage, children, friendship and Baby Boomer parents who refuse to act like they’re getting older.
The result was better than I would have guessed, though we see a lot more of Jack than we do of Greg’s parents (Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman). And I mean that literally. Be ready for a scene where Greg’s nursing skills are called on after his father-in-law decides to try one of those “male enhancement” pills.
We all find out exactly why the effects aren’t supposed to last more than four hours.
Expect goofy and disgusting humor when you go to see this one, obviously. But expect to be charmed as well. I never thought I would write these words, but Owen Wilson adds a lot to the ensemble as best friend Kevin.
The cast as a whole tells a familiar tale well: how to keep a marriage alive amid what seems like everything that can possibly go wrong.
Fans of the first two ought to enjoy this one, though I think you’ll agree that it’s a good “last chapter” for the series. Let’s hope that The Powers That Be decide to let the franchise end on a high note and keep any prototype scripts for, say, “Cousin Focker” or “The Fockers Go To Europe” up on the shelf where they belong.