Arguably the best comedy of 2004, Meet The Fockers is a hilarious, humor-filled marathon. Screenwriters Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke (who should have received Oscars for their flawless penmanship of Meet The Parents) turn in another blockbuster manuscript. But, as with its predecessor, Meet The Fockers wouldn’t be the comedy masterpiece it is without the onscreen chemistry of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Stiller, son of comedian Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld & King Of Queens), is a comic genius in his own right and has recently dominated the Hollywood box office with a string of smash spoof comedies such as There’s Something About Mary (1998), Meet The Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), Along Came Polly (2004), and Dodgeball (2004). De Niro, on the other hand, moves from the less serious roles of his early career into the comedy genre with an ease fully indicative of his enormous talent. Earlier comic roles in Wag The Dog (1997), Analyze This (1999), and Meet The Parents (2000) prepared movie-goers for the veteran actor’s zinging one-liners. Throw Dustin Hoffman (who’s also surprisingly funny) into the mix, and Meet The Fockers becomes one of those rare comedies that movie aficionados will want to see over and over again.
Meet The Fockers follows the continuing hardship of Gaylord “Greg” Focker (Ben Stiller), a male nurse whose future father-in-law, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), is a never-ending source of torment. A retired CIA operative, Jack is paranoid and controlling, and Greg’s previous attempts to win over Jack’s affections have always come up short. Now, Greg’s life problems are multiplied by the imminent first meeting between his in-laws-to-be and his “birth parents”.
Traveling by RV, Greg, his fiancée Pam (Teri Polo) and the rest of Byrnes family arrive in Florida where Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Fockers’ (Barbra Streisand) free-love, hippie lifestyle stands in stark contrast to Jack’s serious façade. Throughout the visit, Greg works overtime to avoid having Jack learn of his mother’s thriving sex therapy business, his own youthful indiscretion with the family maid, and his inability to supervise Jack Jr. for even a single afternoon. When Jack gets the idea that Greg fathered a child back in high school, he administers truth serum to Greg, sparking a series of events that is sure to make even the most ardent critic of ridiculous and juvenile movies (and this is one of them) burst forth in laughter.
Meet The Fockers is a rarity in that it’s a sequel to a fairly successful film that manages to live up to the reputation of the original. Although Meet The Parents is probably the better film, Meet The Fockers is a truly hilarious comedy in its own right. Directed by Jay Roach (director of the Austin Powers franchise), Meet The Fockers is a highly entertaining comedy, deploying all the tricks of the trade – slap-stick, bathroom humor, zinging one-liners, classic “fish-out-of-water” sequences, and situation humor. By no means is it a cinema classic worthy of artistic awards and praise from sophisticated critics. But it delivers on its promise. It promises to make you laugh, and it performs that task with relative ease.