Let’s start with a strong statement: Little Fockers is a bad movie. It didn’t need to be, but it is. The film is the third in the series and by far the worst, despite having a stellar cast and crew. The defining moment of how bad this film is occurs when family patriarch Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) is shown with an out of control erection and Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) has to give him an injection to counteract the effects. Of course at this moment his young son enters the bathroom and freaks out at the site of his grandfather and father in this situation, hilarious!
Little Fockers, as mentioned, is the third film in the series started by Meet the Parents. At the time it was an interesting concept, an ex-CIA agent (Jack Byrnes) is suspicious of his daughter Pam’s (Teri Polo) new boyfriend (Greg Focker) and puts him through the wringer and he needs to earn their trust. The first movie was fresh, unexpected and a nice turn for De Niro. Next we had Meet the Fockers, where once again Jack is mistrustful of Greg once he meets his family and he has to regain their trust. In Little Fockers perhaps there is something new to explore? Perhaps a fresh take on these eclectic families? Nope, this movie simply retreads the same tired concepts, but in a completely unfulfilling way.
The movie starts with Jack Byrnes upset at the fact that one of his son-in-laws, Dr. Bob (Tomas McCarthy), has cheated on his wife and they are now separated. Jack is very upset about this change in his family’s ‘circle of trust’ and this leads to him to having a minor heart attack. Shaken by his mortality he contacts Greg and lets him know that he is to be the next patriarch and dubs Greg the GodFocker. The whole sequence and conversation was completely ridiculous and the fact that Greg is proud of the term and Jacks choice is laughable, in a bad way.
Part of Jack’s message to Greg is that he needs to have a nice home and a stable income source if he is to be the GodFocker (I groaned each and every time the term was used). Greg is now the head of the hospitals nursing unit and thinking about the money issue Greg agrees to help promote a new Erectile Dysfunction drug pitched to him by the beautiful and quirky Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba). This of course is where all the misunderstandings begin. Jack finds the E.D. medication and Greg hides what he is doing so as not to lead jack to believe money is an issue. Jack then suspects that Greg and Andi are having an affair. Further compounded by the fact that Andi goes little nuts and hits on Greg, Jack of course sees them and assumes Greg is cheating.
More and more complications arise with Pam’s ex boyfriend and all around great guy Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson) arrives back on the scene after a bad break up. He focuses on Pam once again (even getting a drunken tattoo of her) and of course Jack (once again)leans towards favoring Kevin instead of Greg. By this point I just threw my hands up at the characters and concepts. Greg and Pam have two kids, Greg is a loving dad yet Jack continues to doubt him at every turn. No one ever turns on Jack for his erratic behavior and through all of this Greg helps Jack with his issues with no thanks or appreciation.
Little Fockers is a perfect example of Hollywood schlock at its worst. The situations, scenarios and pratfalls are all paper thin and the characters are annoyingly one dimensional and basically unlikable. I know this is a formula movie, I know it is the third of a series but look at the talent! Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner and Ben Stiller are all capable of so much more. I have to believe that every one of them had as many issues with the script and direction as the viewers did, hopefully this truly bad movie will spell the end of the series.
Little Fockers is presented in a 1080p/VC-1 transfer that is actually pretty good to look at. The textures are well represented and small details like wrinkles and text are detailed and easy to identify. The color balance isn’t perfect with a few scenes looking washed out, but overall it is capable. Black levels are also handled pretty well, although transitions from exterior to interior shots tend to be a bit murky. Over all this is a decent but not excellent transfer, but in a movie like this which is light on action or fast passes that is all we need.
Presented as a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track the audio is capable but fails to generate any sort of wow factor as you listen. The score is actually well balanced amongst the entire surround spectrum, but at times the dialogue has to compete with the music. By and large the dialogue is clear and easy to hear but a few times the score stayed at a consistent level and drowned out some of the actors lines. This is not a major issue, but one that is easy to remedy and should never happen. The soundtrack hits the necessary peaks and valleys but never stands out in a way that further brings you into the world. Overall the result is a serviceable soundtrack that doesn’t leave much of an impression.
The only really positive thing I can say about the extra features in Little Fockers is that they are all presented in HD. Aside from that they are the typical mix of PR and marketing style supplements. Unsurprisingly no one signed up to make an audio commentary, I imagine it would have been full of painful silences and apologies if they had.
- The Making of a Godfocker (HD, 15 minutes): A very marketing driven and vanilla look at the making of the film with director Paul Weitz. Some good moments, but ultimately a throwaway extra.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 14 minutes): There are ten deleted scenes to look at and they garner less laughs then the film, which is to say none.
Alternate Scenes (HD, 7 minutes): Alternate introduction and ending, including a truly embarrassing scene with De Niro in a wedding gown.
- Gag Reel (HD, 7 minutes): The gag reel is funnier than the movie, but drags on way too long. There is a great segment where Ben Stiller and Harvey Keitel ad lib and Owen Wilson can’t stop laughing, so at least there is that.
- Bob and Ben (HD, 5 minutes): De Niro and Stiller doing a press interview together.
- Ben and Owen (HD, 5 minutes): Wilson and Stiller doing a press interview together.
- Bout Time (HD, 4 minutes): A look at the fight between Jack and Greg.
- The Focker Foot Locker (HD, 2 minutes): Sigh, if the ‘Focker’ jokes in the movie were not enough here is amontage of them.
- Bonus Movie (SD): Retail copies of Little Fockers include a free bonus movie. Choose between Junior and Sgt. Bilko and stream the film to your Blu-ray player via BD-Live or your smartphone via pocket Blu.
- BD-Live Functionality and News Ticker
- My Scenes Bookmarking
The Final Word
I said it at the beginning of this review and I will say it again, Little Fockers is a bad movie full of wasted opportunities. With the talent involved and money available to this franchise it would have been nice to see some innovations or a re-invention perhaps. Instead we get a movie that fails on so many levels and ends up being a disappointing and embarrassing (for the actors involved) experience that I never care to repeat.