Misery Loves Family

Meet the Fockers is more Fockers than anyone can handle. How they got away with that title I’ll never know. Meet the Parents was a surprise hit that inspired a short-lived reality show, sitcom, and even more financially successful sequel. Meet the Fockers was a natural progression after Jack mentioned needing to meet Greg’s parents at the end of the first movie. As predicted, the Fockers are exactly the kind of wonderful and fascinating people who would name their son Gaylord Focker. Meet the Fockers is essentially a repeat of Meet the Parents, but director Jay Roach, composer Randy Newman, and most of the original cast managed to maintain the quality 4 years later. Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo, and Blythe Danner are just as committed as they were before. Greg is only briefly seen as a male nurse just to make fun of his name.

Greg and Pam are engaged, but Jack and Dina still need to meet the Fockers. The sequel is overly long thanks to a minor road trip in Jack’s CIA approved RV. Meet the Fockers has more of Jinx the house trained cat and an adorable baby is added to the trip. Pam’s sister and extended family are absent, but she does leave behind her baby little Jack who knows sign language and absorbs Greg’s bad behavior. Jack takes having nipples that can be milked a little too seriously by wearing a prosthetic boob for breastfeeding. The humor is a bit more crass, but 2 additional Oscar winners managed to save the sequel. Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand are dream casting choices for Gaylord’s eccentric sexually active Jewish parents. Bernie is an overly affectionate hippie, Roz is a highly successful elderly sex therapist, and their dog Moses is particularly excited. The contrast between the loose Fockers and the uptight Jack makes every situation more funny.

Dina is given a bit more character development by seeking Roz’s sexual advice. Pam being pregnant is what brings Jack back into conflict with his future son-in-law. Owen Wilson briefly appears as Kevin near the end, but the role of ex-lover is given to Alanna Ubach as Greg’s busty former maid Isabel. A young Mexican Ben Stiller lookalike opens up the possibility of Greg already being a father. The sequel has another botched family sports game and another awkward dinner scene, but Greg being given truth serum is an unexpected addition. This time Greg and his father are detained by a state trooper played by Tim Blake Nelson. Meet the Fockers ends with another wedding and surveillance camera gag, but the sequel is welcomed enough to keep the franchise going.

Meet the Fockers

Bernie kisses Jack on the forehead

Preceded by: Meet the Parents & Followed by: Little Fockers

2 thoughts on “Misery Loves Family

  1. I saw this in the theater with my parents and one of my Aunts and Uncles, and remember having a good time with it. My parents enjoyed Meet the Fockers more than Meet the Parents, and did gain some interest in the original. That everyone goes through meeting their future spouses’ parents made both films automatic crowd pleasers. While I’ve never been a Dustin Hoffman fan, he was the perfect choice to play Greg’s Hippie father, he just clicked right away as the character. Barbara Streisand coming out of acting retirement to play Greg’s mom was pure genius, again the perfect choice for the part. You would never know she’d been away from the camera for over a decade, she didn’t lose a beat.

    Liked by 1 person

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