When we go, we want to know that our legacies and our families are settled for the future. But there can be a point in which this desire overwhelms our relationships and makes us forget what is important.
The 2010 film, Little Fockers, is the third movie in the Meet the Parents trilogy. After the chaos of Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004), Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) have settled down into a happy life as spouses and parents. All is right with Pam’s father Jack (Robert De Niro). Before the entire family comes into town to celebrate the birthday of Greg and Pam’s twins, Jack finds out that Greg has a side gig working for a pharmaceutical company due to finance issues. Once more, Greg has to prove himself to his father-in-law that not only is he worthy, but will be able to lead the family one day.
A final movie in a film trilogy or series is supposed to once and for all, tie up the loose ends while maintaining the magic that brought audiences into the theaters. Unlike Return of the Jedi or Avengers: Endgame, which were both able to keep the narrative going and fans engaged, Little Fockers falls flat on its face. The jokes that elicited laughs in the first two movies are empty shells of what they once were. While the chemistry still exists between the actors, the honest truth is that this film illustrates once more why sequels have a bad name.
Meeting one’s potential or future in-laws can be a harrowing experience. You want to be yourself, but you also want to prove that you are the right person for their child.
The 2004 film, Meet the Fockers is the sequel to Meet the Parents (2000). Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) are engaged. Now that they have cleared the hurdle of her parents, Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina (Blythe Danner), the next step is his parents. Compared to the straight laced, middle of the road Byrnes, Bernie and Rozalin Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) are very out there. Can these two very different set of parents find a middle ground and ensure that their children become Mr. and Mrs.?
Like it’s predecessor, this film is a satire. The comedy comes from the fact that the Fockers are a complete 180 from the Byrnes. My problem is that while it is funny, it relies a little too heavily on Jewish stereotypes when it comes to Hoffman’s and Streisand’s characters. While the cast is top notch, the script does not match the on-screen talent.
Fairy tales have a way of reaching across time and cultures. They may seem frivolous and fantastical, but they tell human stories about human characters.
The new movie, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, takes place five years after the first movie ends. Aurora (Elle Fanning) and Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) are newly engaged. The hope is that this marriage will bring peace to the land. But hope often springs eternal.
Before Aurora and Philip can walk down the aisle as newlyweds, Aurora and Maleficent are invited to have dinner with King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer). The dinner is supposed to be a “getting to know you” for the future in laws. But in true Meet the Parents fashion, the dinner does not go as planned.
The bond between Aurora and Maleficent begins to weaken as their relationship changes and the drums of war are heard in the distance. Will Aurora and Philip say “I do” and more importantly, will her relationship with Maleficent return to what it was?
I liked this movie. There are some sequels that for any number of reasons, feel unnecessary or feel like they are not adding to the reputation of their predecessor. This film is neither. Without spoiling the movie, there are themes of growing up, respecting diversity in the face of persecution and what happens in the mind of a parent when their child grows up. None of which are easy to deal with on an emotional level.
This film is well written and well acted. Though it may seem to be the predictable fairy tale, it is not.
I recommend it.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is presently in theaters.
Lorenzo (Robert De Niro) is a bus driver in Bronx in the 1960’s. When his son, Calogero (Lillo Brancato), becomes friendly with a local gangster, Sonny (Chazz Palminteri), Lorenzo is concerned that his son is becoming too enamored of that life. While Calogero is spending his free time with Sonny, he is also falling for Jane (Taral Hicks), a young African-American woman.
Being a teenager is never easy, no matter what time period you are living in. Being a teenager means attempting to forge your own identity, even if that means disappointing the ones you love most.
In 2000, De Niro, once again played against type in Meet The Parents. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is getting ready to propose to his girlfriend, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). But before he can pop the question, Greg learns that he must get approval from Pam’s over-protective, ex CIA father, Jack ( Robert De Niro). Attending the wedding of Pam’s sister, Greg does everything to impress his potential in laws. The problem is that everything that could go wrong, does.
While some audience members might be disturbed by the inter religious relationship between Pam and Greg and the almost cartoonish attempts by Greg to win over his girlfriend’s family, I find this movie to be very funny. Meeting the parents/family of your significant other is always nerve wracking. While the hijinks in this movie are over the top, the emotions and the nerves are real.