A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in the pursuit of laughs, Meet the Fockers stretches the PG-13 rating in terms of subject matter and language. There are frequent, vivid discussions about and references to: sexual repression, sensuality, breast-feeding, circumcision, vasectomies, masturbation, and the sex act itself. However, other than some gentle kissing and embracing, the only actual sexual behavior on camera is a dog that simulates sex with anything that moves and even some things that don’t. Language is coarse throughout, with mild swearing ("s--t," , "asshole," "crap," "bastard"), toilet humor (literally and figuratively), and constant talk of body parts and bodily functions (breasts, farts, poop, breast-feeding, virginity, climax, and more). The family name -- Focker -- is the source of an unending volley of puns and innuendo. In addition, the comedy tries hard to be both politically incorrect and to exaggerate all manner of stereotypes (ethnic, occupational, gender-based); it succeeds in these efforts.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After winning the approval of his fiancee Pam (Teri Polo)'s parents in Meet the Parents, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) invites the straightlaced Byrnes family to meet his own eccentric family in MEET THE FOCKERS. Everyone -- including super-programmed grandchild Jack-Jack -- hops into Jack (Robert DeNiro)'s super-fitted RV and head to Florida, where they meet Greg's parents (Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman) -- the kind of people for whom the term "boundary issues" was created.
Is it any good?
Audiences who laugh at this movie are probably laughing more because they want to find it funny than because they actually do. The movie reprises many jokes from the first movie as well of some of its own. There is a slight but viable joke in the very beginning of the movie, when Greg has to leave a voicemail for his parents and ends up waiting through their incompetent answering machine recording, not realizing that they had not turned it off so including some very personal material. But within the next 15 minutes, the joke is repeated two more times. That still leaves time for plenty of attention to Greg's mother Roz, a sex therapist. But most of all, this is about how Greg, instead of being embarrassed about his fears of his own inadequacy, he is embarrassed about the external representation of those fears -- his parents.
Everyone tries hard. They all but climb down out of the screen. Hoffman kisses everyone, sits on the toilet while DeNiro is in the shower, moonwalks, and spreads whipped cream over Streisand's breasts. DeNiro wears a prosthetic breast called a "man-ary gland." It doesn't have whipped cream, but it does have breast milk pumped through it so his grandchild will feel that his mother is nursing him. Blythe Danner asks Streisand for sex tips. And Stiller has to stand before a trophy wall that displays his 9th place ribbons, his bar mitzvah tallit, and his high school jock strap.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotyping. What kinds of stereotypes did you recognize in the movie? Were they funny, and if so, why? Where do stereotypes come from? What are the positives and negatives of stereotypes?
Talk about how sex is used in the movie. There's no explicit sex, but plenty of sexual talk. How did you react to it? Why do you think the filmmakers decided to use sexual humor so heavily?
- In theaters: December 22, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: April 19, 2005
- Cast: Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro
- Director: Jay Roach
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual humor, language and a brief drug reference
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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