Animated adventure from the director of Ice Age and Robots
Does Greg/Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) have what it takes to win Jack Byrnes's (Robert DeNiro) approval, again? Intergeneration comedy, also starring Owen Wilson
Lumbering into what is hopefully its final chapter, this money-spinning franchise (the "Meet" franchise? The "Fockers" franchise?) started very well indeed in 2000 with Meet The Parents, then sunk to passable with Meet The Fockers, a broader, brasher take on the first film's themes with added wacky in-laws. Little Fockers promised to chuck ankle-biters into this heady mix, but in fact, the kids are barely there: this continues to be the Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro show.
And what type of show is that, you ask? Well, Stiller as Greg/Gaylord Focker plays it as competently as ever, but is hobbled by a lame script which gives him barely anything to work with. Unfortunately, DeNiro as Jack Byrnes, rather than playing it straight as he did so successfully in Meet The Parents, seems to have been tempted into mugging for laughs, which, fine actor though he is - or used to be - is not his forte.
With some dreadfully unfunny scenes sprinkled with occasional comic highlights mainly involving Owen Wilson, this is barely passable stuff. The odd line hits home - Wilson's hippy-dippy character sniffily admitting that no, he is not a doctor "in the Western sense of the word," should appeal to those whose skin crawls at the thought of Gillian McKeith, but there's perhaps three moments like this in the entire movie.
If your idea of funny can stretch to include the sight of Stiller injecting DeNiro in his man-parts with adrenaline to calm down an over-excited Little Robert, then you may find some laughs here. However, too much of the script is a threadbare wasteland peopled with characters suffering from convenient plot-related illnesses or behaving in a way that no human has ever behaved simply in order to manouvre other characters into farcical set piece showdowns that the writers fondly imagine are hilarious.
Everybody involved has done better, exponentially so in the case of Robert DeNiro. It's not offensively bad, simply very light on funny jokes.
Film4.com editor Catherine Bray experiments with James Franco's ambitious split screen adaptation of William Faulkner's Nobel Prize winning impressionistic stream of consciousness novel, As I Lay Dyin
Film4.com editor Catherine Bray catches an early morning screening of the new film from prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike... [caption id="attachment_2409" align="alignnone" width="508"] Shield