Meet the Fockers (2004)

(On TV, February 2015)  I really don’t have a soft spot for Meet the Parents, which relies far too much on humiliation comedy for my tastes.  I only saw the sequel because it was on my to-do list, not out of any particular desire.  The good news, I suppose, is that I don’t dislike Meet the Fockers as much as its prequel.  The not-so-good news are that I can’t really create any enthusiasm for the film: it is exactly what it wants to be: a mainstream comedy with occasional outbursts of fake outrageousness, featuring big-name stars in relatively undemanding roles.  Ben Stiller is duller than usual as the hapless straight-man-bumbler of the series, while Robert de Niro does himself not favours by riffing off once again on much better past performances.  This being said, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand are relatively sympathetic as the “other” set of parents and a few of the jokes land correctly, especially those revolving around the enormous RV that serves as one of the film’s set-pieces.  It all leads to a conclusion where misunderstandings and complications are all untangled, albeit not without truth-serum interrogation and a car chase.  For the end results, though, it doesn’t seem worthwhile to have brought together Hoffman and de Niro together for such inconsequential pap.  Ah well; at least it’s somehow not quite as distasteful as the first film in the series.

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