Little Fockers (2010)

(On Cable TV, May 2017) Given that Little Fockers (such wit in the titling!) is the fourth film in the Meet the Parents series, anyone who doesn’t like it despite having seen the previous movies only has themselves to blame. An easy grab-bag of humiliation comedy, repeated routines, gross gags and repetitive character interaction, Little Fockers is pretty much what you can expect from it. Oh, let’s see the protagonist spar with his father-in-law, get into humiliating situations and save the day at the end—how novel. How lazy. This is not a film for subtlety or surprises: jokes can be seen well in advance, their point seems to be as much embarrassment as possible and who cares if they’re rehashing conflicts from the previous three movies? Still, it’s surprising that the project was able to attract and retain so many name actors, including a reportedly reluctant Dustin Hoffman who barely shows up in a few disconnected scenes. Charitably, it’s hard not to mention that after four movies spanning ten years, Little Fockers feels like an episode in a long-running sitcom: What are those unchanging characters up to? Fortunately, it now looks as if the series will stop there. A good thing too, given that every time a new one is released, you can hear Ben Stiller and Robert de Niro’s reputation sink to new lows.

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