In the first installment of the wildly successful Meet the Parents franchise, Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro kept us doubled over in laughter as future in-laws Greg Focker and Jack Byrnes vying for the heart of Pam. In the second installment Meet the Fockers, we meet Greg's parents Mr. and Mrs. Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) who had us in stitches with their wacky ways. But in the latest franchise Little Fockers, even with the addition of Jessica Alba as a pushy pharmaceutical , the return of Owen Wilson as Pam's obsessive ex and a brief cameo by Harvey Keitel, the laughs were few and far between.
When Jack (DeNiro) finally realizes he may not be able to able to handle the daunting role of patriarch of the family anymore, he appoints Greg (Stiller)--his son-in-law and father of his twin grandkids--as his successor. But as usual the pressure of impressing Jack has sent Greg into a tailspin which leads to a comedy of errors.
Wait, did I just say "comedy?" With the exception of a few laughs provided mostly by Alba, the film is filled with recycled jokes and lackluster comedic routines. The film focused too much on the kids and not enough on the usually hysterical in-laws. When we were meeting each of the parents in the previous installments, they were funny, but when we meet the kids--who we're just meeting in this movie--they're not funny at all. It seems like the old formula is dying a slow death. Recommendation--skip this one and revisit the previous movies. Those will bring more holiday cheer than this one.
Reel Talk rating: D+