A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the third comedy in the "Fockers" series (which started with Meet the Parents and continued in Meet the Fockers) mines the same material as the previous two installments: the conflict-filled relationship between a father-in-law and his son-in-law. A few new tweaks -- such as a woman hitting on a man who's clearly married and devoted to his family, as well as discussion about both erectile dysfunction and over-function (there's an apparent erection in one character's pants) -- may be too mature for younger viewers. Also, the animosity between the two main characters verges on disturbing. There's less sexual humor here than in Meet the Fockers, but you can expect some jokes/talk and a scene in which a character gets drunk and strips down to her underwear. There's also some swearing (including "s--t" and plays on the name "Focker") and episodes in which two grown men attack each other.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After the son-in-law he originally favored has an affair, ex-CIA agent Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) decides that his other son-in-law, Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller), is good enough to entrust with the future of the Byrnes family. Always starved for Jack's approval, Greg takes his mission seriously, but is discouraged when he learns, during a visit from Jack and his mother-in-law (Blythe Danner), that things -- as usual -- aren't as simple as they first seem. Meanwhile, an article that Greg wrote for a medical journal has attracted the attention of an alluring (and persistent) pharmaceutical sales rep (Jessica Alba), who recruits him to be the spokesperson for an erectile dysfunction medication. (He considers it because his kids might have to attend a fancy preschool.) Plus, Greg's wife Pam's (Teri Polo) ex-boyfriend, Kevin (Owen Wilson), is still hung up on her; Greg's father (Dustin Hoffman) is off to Seville to find himself; and his mother (Barbra Streisand) continues to dish out sexual advice while sharing anecdotes about him.
Is it any good?
LITTLE FOCKERS is the third installment in what has proven to be a successful, if entirely predictable, franchise. At this point, De Niro and Stiller have their banter and prickly chemistry down to a science, and they inhabit their tense relationship in a satisfying and believable way. Even the cheesiest lines -- De Niro calling Stiller’s character "the Godfocker," for example -- elicit a chuckle.
The cast is the best thing about the movie, save perhaps for Alba, who appears to be channeling Tea Leoni’s kooky charm in Flirting with Disaster, but with less success. But, honestly, some of the Fockers antics are really tiresome at this point. Shouldn’t Greg and Jack get along by now? A secondary storyline that has Laura Dern playing the director of an uber-preschool is a funny diversion and could have added more interest had it been further explored (perhaps Little Fockers should have attacked helicopter parenting instead?). The film will entertain Fockers fans, but if you didn't like the first two, don't get your hopes up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about marriage and family. How does having children impact a relationship? How are families with young kids typically portrayed in the media?
Why do you think Hollywood makes so many movies that show tension between family members? Do you think that's realistic?
- In theaters: December 22, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: April 5, 2011
- Cast: Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro
- Director: Paul Weitz
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature sexual humor throughout, language and some drug content
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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