December 28, 2004

MOVIES: Meet the Fockers (Jay Roach, 2004)

Meet the Fockers is an efficient retread of Meet the Parents. Again, Ben Stiller struggles to be acceptable by his uptight WASP in-laws-to-be; again, he's humiliated at every turn. The twist this time, of course, is that his own parents are on hand to aid in his embarassment.

Stiller's parents are played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, and they're terrific together, comfortable and relaxed. It's been more than 20 years since Streisand made a comedy, and it's a joy to watch her here; her timing is impeccable, both in broad moments -- giving a massage to a reluctant Robert De Niro -- and in quiet ones -- a conversation at the mall with Blythe Danner.

Yes, the movie is full of toilet jokes and puns on "Focker" and cheap sex jokes, and it's probably not quite as good as the first one, but it does precisely what it sets out to do in a reasonably brisk fashion.

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